Hey guys..i am very very sorry for this extremely late update, i got caught up with work and it got difficult for me to update on time…to make up for this i will be updating tomorrow and on Saturday as well…also, i will be replying to all your comments individually tomorrow.
I did read a few of the comments..some of you are upset with Lakshya and feel that this is more of a Ananya and Lakshya’s story than of Ragini and Lakshya..I get it, we all love RagLak and we want them to be together..which they will be, but every story cannot be a fairytale romance, i am sorry if this sounds harsh, but this is not going to be a fairytale romance, every situation in our life is not ideal. We do not always get to choose between black and white, its much more complex than that.
People go through life sometimes without meeting their soulmate, sometimes they meet their soulmate a bit too late and that is exactly what has happened here. It happens, we don’t only get happy moments, there is also pain which helps us to appreciate the happy times.
Ananya has been in Lakshya’s life long before Ragini came in, just because her has fallen in love with Ragini now, does not mean he will discard Ananya just like that. Yes,I understand your concern that what is Ragini’s role in his life. But, Ragini and Lakshya have been upfront with each other, there are no hidden factors between them. They both are aware of their feelings but at the same time, they are also aware of their responsibilities.
Be assured that Ragini and Lakshya are going to be together, but there is going to be a lot more soul searching before that happens.
Hope you understand 🙂
Link to the previous episode : http://www.tellyupdates.com/raglak-music-episode-10/
Lots of Love,
I close the door to Lakshya’s car and follow Amit up the stairs toward the apartment. Neither of us said a word to each other on the drive home from the hospital. The rigidness in his jaw said all he needed to say, which was, more or less, don’t speak to me. I spent the drive with my focus out the window and my questions lodged in my throat.
We walk into the apartment, and he tosses his keys onto the bar as I shut the door behind me. He doesn’t even turn around to look at me as he stalks off toward his bedroom.
“Good night,” I say. I might have said it with a little bit of sarcastic bite, but at least I’m not screaming, “Screw you, Amit!” which is kind of what I feel like saying.
He pauses, then turns around to face me. I watch him nervously, because whatever he’s about to say to me isn’t “good night.” His eyes narrow as he tilts his head, shaking it slowly. “Can I ask you a question?” he finally says, eyeing me with curiosity.
“As long as you promise never again to begin a question by asking whether or not you can propose a question.”
I want to laugh at my use of Lakshya’s comment, but Amit doesn’t even crack a smile. It only makes things much more awkward. I shift on my feet. “What’s your question, Amit?” I say with a sigh.
He folds his arms over his chest and walks toward me. I swallow my nervousness as he leans forward to speak to me, barely a foot away. “Do you just need to get laid?”
Breathe in, breathe out.
Beat beat, pause. Beat beat, pause.
“What?” I say, dumbfounded. I’m positive I didn’t hear him right.
He lowers his head a few inches until he’s at eye level with me. “Do you just need someone to screw you?” he says, with more precise enunciation this time. “Because if that’s all it is, I’ll bend you over the couch right now and screw you so hard you’ll never think about Lakshya again.” He continues to stare at me, cold and heartless.
Think before you react, Ragini.
For several seconds, all I can do is shake my head in disbelief. Why would he say that? Why would he say something so disrespectful to me? This isn’t Amit. I don’t know who this asshole is standing in front of me, but it definitely isn’t Amit.
Before I allow myself time to think, I react. I pull my arm back, then make four punches my lifetime average as my fist meets his cheek.
I look up at him, and his hand is covering his cheek. His eyes are wide, and he’s looking at me with more surprise than pain. He takes a step back, and I keep my eyes focused hard on his.
I grab my fist and pull it up to my chest, pissed that I’m going to have another hurt hand. I wait before going to the kitchen to get ice for it, though. I might need to hit him again.
I’m confused by his obvious anger toward me for the past twenty-four hours. My mind rushes through anything I could have said or done to him that would make him feel this much hatred toward me.
He sighs and tilts his head back, pulling his hands through his hair. He gives no explanation for his hateful words, and I try to understand them, but I can’t. I’ve done nothing to him to warrant something that harsh.
Maybe that’s his problem, though. Perhaps the fact that I’ve done nothing to him—or with him—is what’s pissing him off like this.
“Is this jealousy?” I ask. “Is that what’s making you this evil, wretched excuse for a human being? Because I never slept with you?”
He takes a step forward, and I immediately back up until I fall down onto the couch. He bends down, bringing himself to my eye level.
“I don’t want to screw you, Ragini. And I am definitely not jealous.” He pushes himself away from the couch. Away from me.
He’s scaring the living shit out of me, and I want to pack my suitcases and leave tonight and never, ever see any of these people again.
I begin crying into my hands. I hear him sigh heavily, and he drops down onto the couch beside me. I pull my feet up and turn my knees away from him, curling into the far corner of the couch. We sit like this for several minutes, and I want to stand up and run to my room, but I don’t. I feel as if I’d have to ask permission, because I don’t even know if I have a room here anymore.
“I’m sorry,” he finally says, breaking the silence with something other than my crying. “God, I’m sorry. I just . . . I’m trying to understand what the hell you’re doing.”
I wipe my face with my shirt and glance at him. His face is a jumbled mixture of sadness and sorrow, and I don’t understand anything he’s feeling.
“What is your problem with me, Amit? I’ve never been anything but nice to you. I’ve even been nice to your b*t*h of a girlfriend, and believe me, that takes effort.”
He nods in agreement. “I know,” he says, exasperated. “I know, I know, I know. You are a nice person.” He laces his fingers together and stretches his arms out, then brings them back down with a heavy sigh. “And I know you have good intentions. You have a good heart. And a pretty good right swing,” he says, grinning slyly. “I guess that’s why I’m so mad, though. I know you have a good heart, so why in the hell haven’t you moved out yet?” His words hurt me more now than the vulgar ones he spit at me five minutes ago.
“If you and Lakshya wanted me gone this bad, why did you both wait until this weekend to tell me?”
My question seems to catch Amit off-guard, because his eyes cut to mine briefly before he looks away again. He doesn’t answer that question, though. Instead, he begins to prepare one of his own. “Has Lakshya ever told you the story of how he met Ananya?” he asks.
I shake my head, completely confused by the direction this conversation has taken.
“I was seventeen, and Lakshya had just turned eighteen,” he says. He leans back against the couch and stares down at his hands.
I recall Lakshya saying he began dating Ananya when he was nineteen, but I keep silent and let him continue.
“We had been dating for about six weeks, and . . .”
Scratch that thought. Can no longer keep silent. “We?” I ask hesitantly. “As in you and Lakshya?”
“No, dumbass. As in me and Ananya.”
I try to hide my shock, but he doesn’t look at me long enough to even see my reaction.
“Ananya was my girlfriend first. I met her at a fund-raising event for children who were deaf. I was there with my parents, who were both on the committee.” He pulls his hands behind his head and leans against the couch.
“Lakshya was with me the first time I saw her. We both thought she was the most beautiful thing we had ever laid eyes on, but, fortunately for me, my eyes landed on her about five seconds before his did, so I called dibs. Of course, neither one of us expected to actually have a chance with her. I mean, you’ve seen her. She’s incredible.” He pauses for a moment, then props a leg on the table in front of us.
“Anyway, I spent the whole day flirting with her. Charming her with my good looks and my killer body.”
I laugh, but only out of courtesy.
“She agreed to go on a date with me, so I told her I’d pick her up that Friday night. I took her out, made her laugh, took her back home, and kissed her. It was great, so I asked her out again, and she agreed. I took her out for a second date, then a third date. I liked her. We got along well; she laughed at my jokes. She also got along with Lakshya, which scored major points in my book. The girl and the best friend have to get along, or one of the two will suffer. Luckily, we all got along great. On our fourth date, I asked her if she wanted to make it official, and she agreed. I was stoked, because I knew she was by far the hottest girl I’d ever dated or ever would date. I couldn’t let her slip away, especially before I was able to go all the way with her.”
He laughs. “I remember saying that to Lakshya the same night. Told him if there was one girl on this earth I needed to devirginize, it was Ananya. Told him I’d go on a hundred dates with her if that’s what it took. He turned his head to me and signed, ‘What about a hundred and one?’ I laughed, because I didn’t understand what the hell Lakshya meant. I didn’t understand at the time that he liked her the way he did, and I never really understood all the little gems he would spout. Still don’t. Looking back on the whole situation and the way he would sit there and have to listen to the punk-ass things I said about her, I’m surprised he didn’t punch me sooner than he did.”
“He punched you?” I ask. “Why? Because you talked about screwing her?”
He shakes his head, and a look of guilt washes over him. “No,” he says quietly. “Because I did screw her.”
He sighs but continues. “We were staying the night at Lakshya and Sanskar’s. Ananya spent a lot of time over there with me, and we had been dating for about six weeks. I know that’s not long in virgin weeks, but it’s a damn eternity in guy weeks. We were lying in bed together, and she told me she was ready to go all the way, but before she would have s*x with me, there was something she needed to tell me. She said I had a right to know, and she wouldn’t feel right continuing a relationship until I was fully informed. I remember panicking, thinking she was about to tell me.”
He laughs and looks straight ahead again. “That’s when she told me about her illness. Told me about the statistics . . . the fact that she didn’t want children . . . the reality of how much time she had left. She said she wanted to lay the truth out for me because it wouldn’t be fair to anyone who saw something long-term with her. She said the likelihood of her making it to the age of forty or even thirty-five was small. She said she needed to be with someone who understood that. Someone who accepted that.”
“You didn’t want that responsibility?” I ask him.
He shakes his head slowly. “Ragini, I didn’t care about the responsibility. I was a seventeen-year-old guy, in bed with the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, and all she was asking me to do was agree to love her. When she mentioned the words ‘future’ and ‘husband’ and not wanting kids, it took all I had not to roll my eyes, because in my head, those were a lifetime away. I would be with a million girls before then. I didn’t know how to think that far ahead, so I just did what I thought any guy would do in that situation. I reassured her and told her that her illness didn’t matter to me and that I loved her. Then I kissed her, took off her clothes, and took her virginity.”
He hangs his head in what looks like shame. “After she left the next morning, I was bragging to Lakshya about finally getting to bang a virgin. Probably went into way too much detail. I also mentioned the conversation we had beforehand and told him all about her illness. I was brutally honest with him to a fault sometimes. I told him that her whole situation kind of freaked me out and that I was going to give it two weeks before I broke up with her so I wouldn’t look like such a douche. That’s when he beat the living shit out of me.”
My eyes widen. “Good for Lakshya,” I say.
Amit nods. “Yeah. Apparently, he liked her a whole lot more than he let on, but he just kept his mouth shut and allowed me to make an ass of myself for the whole six weeks I dated her. I should have caught on about how he felt, but Lakshya is a lot more selfless than I am. He would have never done anything to betray what we had, but after that night, he lost a whole lot of respect for me. And that hurt, Ragini. He’s like my brother. I felt like I had disappointed the one person I looked up to the most.”
“So you broke up with Ananya, and Lakshya started dating her?”
“Yes and no. We had a long conversation about it that afternoon, because Lakshya is big on sharing his thoughts and shit. We agreed we had to honor the bro code, and it wouldn’t really be good for us if he picked up and started dating a girl I had just screwed. But he liked her. He liked her a lot, and even though I knew it was hard for him, he waited until the term ended before he asked her out.”
Amit nods. “Yeah. Don’t ask where we came up with it, but we agreed twelve months was a decent length of time before the bro code became null. We figured enough time would have passed, and if he wanted to ask her out after a year, it wouldn’t be so weird. By that time, she might have dated other people and wouldn’t be going straight from my bed into Lakshya’s. As much as I could have tried to be cool about it, it would have been too weird. Even for us.”
“Did Ananya know how he felt about her? During the twelve months?”
Amit shakes his head. “No. Ananya never even knew he liked her like he did. He liked her so much he didn’t go on a single date for the entire twelve months I made him wait. He had the date circled on a calendar. I saw it once in his room. He never mentioned her, never asked about her. But I’ll be damned if the day that year was up, he wasn’t knocking on her front door. And it took her a while to come around, especially knowing she would have to interact with me. But things eventually worked themselves out. She ended up with the right guy in the end, thanks to Lakshya’s persistence.”
I exhale. “Wow,” I say. “Talk about devotion.”
He turns his head toward mine, and our eyes meet. “Exactly,” he says firmly, as if I just summed up his whole point. “I have never in my life met another human being with more devotion than that man. He’s the best damn thing that’s ever happened to me. The best thing that’s ever happened to Ananya.”
He pulls his feet up onto the couch and faces me full-on. “He’s gone through hell and back for that girl, Ragini. All the hospital stays, driving back and forth to take care of her, promising her the world, and giving up so much of himself in return. And she deserves it. She’s one of the purest, most selfless people I’ve ever met, and if there are two people who deserve each other in this world, it’s the two of them.
“So when I see how he looks at you, it pains me. I saw the way the two of you watched each other at the party the other night. I saw the jealousy in his eyes every time you spoke to Sanskar. I’ve never seen him struggle with his choice or the sacrifices he’s made for Ananya until you showed up. He’s falling in love with you, Ragini, and I know you know that. However, I also know his heart, and he’ll never leave Ananya. He loves her. He would never do that to her. So seeing him torn apart because of the way he feels about you and knowing his life is with Ananya, I just don’t understand why you’re still here. I don’t understand why you’re putting him through that much pain. Each day you’re still here and I see him looking at you the same way he used to look at Ananya, it makes me want to shove you out the damn door and tell you to never come back. And I know that’s not your fault. I know that. Hell, you didn’t even know the half of what he’s going through until tonight. But now you do. And as much as I love you and think you’re one of the coolest damn chicks I’ve ever met, I also never want to see your face again. Especially now that you know the truth about Ananya. And forgive me if this is harsh, but I don’t want you getting it into your head that the love you have for Lakshya will be enough to hold you over until the day Ananya dies. Because Ananya isn’t dying, Ragini. Ananya’s living. She’ll be around a lot longer than Lakshya’s heart could ever survive you.”
My head rolls forward into my hands as the sobs erupt from my chest. Amit’s arm folds over my back, and he pulls me against him. I don’t know who I’m crying for right now, but my heart hurts so much I just want to rip it from my f-ing chest and throw it over Lakshya’s balcony, because that’s where this whole mess began.
Ananya has been asleep for a couple of hours now, but I’ve yet to sleep. That’s usually how it is when I’m with her in the hospital. After five years of sporadic stays, I’ve learned it’s much easier not to sleep at all than it is to get a half-ass couple of hours.
I open my laptop and pull up my messages to Ragini, then send her a quick hello to see if she’s online. We haven’t had a chance to discuss the fact that I asked her to move out, and I hate not knowing if she’s okay. I know it’s wrong to be messaging her at this point, but it seems even more wrong to leave things unsaid.
She returns my message almost immediately, and the tone of it already relieves some of my worry. I don’t know why I always expect she’ll respond unreasonably, because she’s never once shown a lack of maturity or regard for my situation.
Ragini: Yeah, I’m here. How’s Ananya?
Me: She’s good. She’ll be discharged this afternoon.
Ragini: That’s good. I’ve been worried.
Me: Thank you, by the way. For your help last night.
Ragini: I wasn’t much help. I felt like I was in the way more than anything.
Me: You weren’t. There’s no telling what could have happened if you hadn’t found her.
I wait a moment for her to respond, but she doesn’t. I guess we’ve reached the point in this conversation where one of us needs to bring up what we both know must be discussed. I feel responsible for this entire situation with her, so I bite the bullet and lay it out there.
Me: Do you have a minute? I really have some things I’d like to say to you.
Ragini: Yes, and likewise.
I glance up at Ananya again, and she’s still asleep in the same position. Having this conversation with Ragini in her presence, as innocent as it is, makes me uneasy. I take my laptop and walk out of the hospital room and into the empty hallway. I sit on the floor beside the door to Ananya’s room and reopen my laptop.
Me: The main thing I’ve appreciated about our time together over the last couple of months is the fact that we’ve been upfront and consistent with each other. With that being said, I don’t want you to leave with the wrong idea about why I need you to move out. I don’t want you to think you did anything wrong.
Ragini: I don’t need an explanation. I’ve more than worn out my welcome, and you have enough to stress about without adding me into the mix. Amit found an apartment for me this morning, but it isn’t available for a few days. Is it okay if I stay here until then?
Me: Of course. When I said I needed you to move, I didn’t literally mean today. I just meant soon. Before things become too hard for me to continue to walk away.
Ragini: I’m sorry, Lakshya. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.
I know she’s referring to the way we feel about each other. I know exactly what she means, because I didn’t mean for it to happen, either. In fact, I’ve done everything I could to stop it from happening, but somehow my heart never got the message. If I know it wasn’t intentional on my part, I know it wasn’t intentional on her part, so she has nothing to apologize for.
Me: Why are you apologizing? Don’t apologize. It’s not your fault, Ragini. Hell, I’m not even sure it’s my fault.
Ragini: Well, usually when something goes wrong, someone is at fault.
Me: Things didn’t go wrong with us. That’s our problem. Things are way too right between us. We make sense. Everything about you feels so right, but—
I pause for a few moments to gather my thoughts, because I don’t want to say anything I’ll regret. I inhale, then type out the best way to describe how I feel about our entire situation.
Me: There isn’t a doubt in my mind that we could be perfect for each other’s life, Ragini. It’s our lives that aren’t perfect for us.
Several minutes pass without a response. I don’t know if I crossed the line with my comments, but however she’s reacting to them, I needed to say what I had to say before I could let her go. I’m beginning to close my laptop when another message pops up from her.
Ragini: If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this whole experience, it’s that my ability to trust wasn’t completely broken by Vikrant and Kritika like I initially thought. You’ve always been upfront with me about how you feel. We’ve never skirted around the truth. If anything, we’ve worked together to find a way to change our course. I want to thank you for that. Thank you so much for showing me that guys like you actually exist, and not everyone is a Vikrant.
She somehow has a way of making me sound so much more innocent than I actually am. I’m not nearly as strong as she thinks I am.
Me: Don’t thank me, Ragini. You shouldn’t thank me, because I failed miserably at trying not to fall in love with you.
I swallow the lump forming in my throat and hit send. Saying what I’ve just said to her fills me with more guilt than the night I kissed her. Words can sometimes have a far greater effect on a heart than a kiss.
Ragini: I failed first.
I read her last message, and the finality of our imminent good-bye hits me full-force. I feel it in every single part of me, and I’m shocked at the reaction I’m having to it. I lean my head against the wall behind me and try to imagine my world before Ragini entered it. It was a good world. A consistent world. But then she came along and shook my world upside down as if it were a fragile, breakable snow globe. Now that she’s leaving, it feels as if the snow is about to settle, and my whole world will be upright and still and consistent again. As much as that should make me feel at ease, it actually terrifies me. I’m scared to death that I’ll never again feel any of the things I felt during the little time she’s been in my world.
Anyone who has made this much of an impact deserves a proper good-bye.
I stand and walk back into Ananya’s hospital room. She’s still asleep, so I walk over to her bed, give her a light kiss on the forehead, and leave her a note explaining that I’m heading to the apartment to pack a few things before she’s released.
Then I leave to go and give the other half of my heart a proper good-bye.
• • •
I’m outside Ragini’s bedroom door, preparing to knock. We’ve said everything that needs to be said and even a lot that probably shouldn’t have been said, but I can’t not see her one last time before I go. She’ll be gone by the time I get back from San Antonio. I have no plans to contact her after today, so the fact that I know this is definitely good-bye is pressing on the walls of my chest, and it f**king hurts like hell.
If I were to look at my situation from an outsider’s point of view, I would be telling myself to forget about Ragini’s feelings, that my loyalty should lie solely with Ananya. I would be telling myself to leave and that Ragini doesn’t deserve a good-bye, even after all we’ve been through.
Is life really that black-and-white, though? Can a simple right or wrong define my situation? Do Ragini’s feelings not count in this mix somewhere despite my loyalty to Ananya? It doesn’t seem right just to let her go. But it’s unfair to Ananya not to just let her go.
I don’t know how I ever got myself into this mess to begin with, but I know the only way to end it is to break off all contact with Ragini. I knew the moment I held her hand last night that there wasn’t a flaw in the world that could have stopped my heart from feeling what it was feeling.
I’m not proud of the fact that Ananya doesn’t make up all of my heart anymore. I fought it. I fought it hard, because I didn’t want it to happen. Now that the fight is finally coming to an end, I’m not even sure if I’m winning or losing. I’m not even sure which side I’m rooting for, much less which side I was on.
I knock lightly on Ragini’s door, then place my palms flat against the doorframe and look down, half of me hoping she refuses to open it and half of me restraining myself from breaking down the damn door to get to her.
Within seconds, we’re face-to-face for what I know is the last time. Her brown eyes are wide with fear and surprise and maybe even a small amount of relief when she sees me standing in front of her. She doesn’t know how to feel about seeing me here, but her confusion is comforting. It’s good to know I’m not alone in this, that we’re both sharing the same mixture of emotions. We’re in this together.
Ragini and me.
We’re just two completely confused souls, scared of a much unwanted yet crucial goodbye.
Be still, heart. Please, be still.
I don’t want him to be standing here in front of me. I don’t want him to be looking at me, wearing the expression that mirrors my own feelings. I don’t want him to hurt like I’m hurting. I don’t want him to miss me like I’ll miss him. I don’t want him to be falling for me like I’ve been falling for him.
I want him to be with Ananya right now. I want him to want to be with Ananya right now, because it would make this so much easier knowing our feelings were less a reflection of each other’s and more like a one-way mirror. If this weren’t so hard for him, it would make it easier for me to forget him, easier to accept his choice. Instead, it makes my heart hurt twice as much knowing that our good-bye is hurting him just as much as it’s hurting me.
It’s killing me, because nothing and no one could ever fit my life the way I know he could. I feel as though I’m willingly forking over my one chance for an exceptional life, and in return, I’m accepting a mediocre version without Lakshya in it. My father’s words ring in my head, and I’m beginning to wonder if he had a point after all. A life of mediocrity is a waste of a life.
Our eyes remain in their silent embrace for several moments, until we both break our gaze, allowing ourselves to take in every last thing about each other.
His eyes scroll carefully over my face as if he’s committing me to memory. His memory is the last place I want to be.
I would give anything to always be in his present.
I lean my head against my open bedroom door and stare at his hands still gripping the doorframe. The same hands I’ll never see play a guitar again. The same hands that will never hold mine again. The same hands that will never again touch me and hold me in order to listen to me sing.
The same hands that are suddenly reaching for me, wrapping themselves around me, gripping my back in an embrace so tight I don’t know if I could break away even if I tried. But I’m not trying to break away. I’m reciprocating. I’m hugging him with just as much desperation. I find solace against his chest while his cheek presses against the top of my head. With each heavy, uncontrolled breath that passes through his lungs, my own breaths try to keep pace. However, mine are coming in much shorter gasps, thanks to the tears that are working their way out of me.
My sadness is consuming me, and I don’t even try to hold it in as I cry huge tears of grief. I’m crying tears over the death of something that never even had the chance to live.
The death of us.
Lakshya and I remain clasped together for several minutes. So many minutes that I’m trying not to count, for fear that we’ve been standing here way too long for it to be an appropriate embrace. Apparently, he notices this, too, because he slides his hands up my back and to my shoulders, then pulls away from me. I lift my face from his shirt and wipe at my eyes before looking back up at him.
Once we make eye contact again, he removes his hands from my shoulders and tentatively places them on either side of my face. His eyes study mine for several moments, and the way he’s looking at me makes me hate myself, because I love it so much.
I love the way he’s looking at me as if I’m the only thing that matters right now. I’m the only one he sees. He’s the only one I see. My thoughts once again lead back to some of the lyrics he wrote.
His gaze flickers between my mouth and my eyes, almost as if he can’t decide if he wants to kiss me, stare at me, or talk to me.
“Ragini,” he whispers.
I gasp and clutch a hand to my chest. My heart just disintegrated at the sound of his voice.
“I don’t . . . speak . . . well,” he says with a quiet and unsure voice.
Oh, my heart. Hearing him speak is almost too much to take in. Each word that meets my ears is enough to bring me to my knees, and it’s not even the sound of his voice or the quality of his speech. It’s the fact that he’s choosing this moment to speak for the first time in fifteen years.
He pauses before finishing what he needs to say and it gives my heart and my lungs a moment to catch up with the rest of me. He sounds exactly as I imagined he would sound after hearing his laughter so many times. His voice is slightly deeper than his laughter, but somewhat out of focus. His voice reminds me of a photograph in a way. I can understand his words, but they’re out of focus. It’s as if I’m looking at a picture and the subject is recognizable, but not in focus . . . similar to his words.
I just fell in love with his voice. With the out-of-focus picture he’s painting with his words.
With . . . him.
He inhales softly, then nervously exhales before continuing. “I need you . . . to hear this,” he says, cradling my head in his hands. “I . . . will never . . . regret you.”
Beat, beat, pause.
I just officially lost the war on my heart. I don’t even bother verbalizing a response to him. My reaction can be seen in my tears. He leans forward and presses his lips to my forehead; then he drops his hands and slowly backs away from me. With each move he makes to pull apart from me, I feel my heart crumbling. I can almost hear us being ripped apart. I can almost hear his heart tearing in two, crashing to the floor right next to mine.
As much as I know he should leave, I’m a breath away from begging him to stay. I want to fall to my knees, right next to our shattered hearts, and beg him to choose me. The pathetic part of me wants to beg him just to kiss me, even if he doesn’t choose me.
But the part of me that ultimately wins is the part that keeps her mouth shut, because I know Ananya deserves him more than I do.
I keep my hands to my sides as he backs away another step, preparing to turn through my bedroom door. Our eyes are still locked, but when my phone sounds off in my pocket, I jump, quickly tearing my gaze from his. I hear his phone vibrate in his pocket. The sudden interruption of both of our phones is only obvious to me until he sees me opening my cell phone at the same time as he pulls his out of his pocket. Our eyes meet briefly, but the interruption of the outside world seems to have brought us both back to the reality of our situation. Back to the fact that his heart belongs with someone else, and this is still good-bye.
I watch as he reads his text first. I’m unable to take my eyes off of him in order to read mine. His expression quickly becomes tortured by whatever words he’s reading, and he slowly shakes his head.
Until this very moment, I’d never seen a heart break right before my eyes. Whatever he just read has completely shattered him.
He doesn’t look at me again. In one swift movement, he grips his phone tightly in his hand as if it’s become an extension of him, and he heads straight for the front door and swings it open. I step out into the living room, watching him in fear as I walk toward the front door. He doesn’t even shut the door behind him as he takes the stairs two at a time, jumping over the edge of the railing to shave off another half a second in his frantic race to get to wherever it is he desperately needs to be.
I look down at my phone and unlock the screen. Ananya’s number shows as the last incoming text message. I open it and see that Lakshya and I were the only recipients. I read it carefully, immediately recognizing the familiar string of words she’s typed out to both of us.
Ananya: “Ananya showed up last night an hour after I got back to my room. I was convinced you were going to barge in and tell her what a jerk I am for kissing you.”
I immediately walk to the couch and sit, no longer able to support my body weight. Her words knocked the breath out of me, sucked the strength from my limbs, and robbed me of any sense of dignity I thought I had left.
I try to recall the medium through which Lakshya’s words were initially typed.
Oh, no. Our messages.
Ananya is reading our messages. No, no, no.
She won’t understand. She’ll only see the words that’ll hurt. She won’t be able to see how much Lakshya has been fighting this for her.
Another text shows up from Ananya, and I don’t want to read it. I don’t want to see our conversation through Ananya’s eyes.
Ananya: “I never thought it was possible to have honest feelings for more than one person, but you’ve convinced me of how incredibly wrong I was.”
I turn my phone on silent and toss it onto the couch beside me, then start crying into my hands.
How could I do this to her?
How could I do to her what was done to me, knowing it’s the worst feeling in the world?
I’ve never in my life known this kind of shame.
Several minutes pass, full of regrets, before I realize the front door is still wide open. I leave my phone on the couch and walk to the door to shut it, but my eyes are drawn to the cab pulled up directly in front of our complex. Ananya is stepping out, looking up at me as she closes the door. I’m not at all prepared to see her, so I quickly step back out of her sight to regain my bearings. I don’t know if I should go hide in my room or stay out here and try to explain Lakshya’s innocence in all of this.
But how would I do that? She obviously read the conversations herself. She knows we kissed. She knows he admitted having feelings for me. As much as I can try to convince her that he did everything he could not to feel that way, it doesn’t excuse the fact that the guy she’s in love with has openly admitted his feelings for someone else. Nothing can excuse that, and I feel like complete shit for being a part of it.
I’m still standing with the door open when she makes it to the top of the stairs. She’s looking at me with a stern expression. I know she’s more than likely here for anything other than me, so I take a step back and open the door wider. She looks down at her feet when she passes me, unable to continue the eye contact.
I don’t blame her. I wouldn’t be able to look at me, either. In fact, if I were her, I’d be punching me right now.
She heads to the kitchen counter, and she drops Lakshya’s laptop onto it without delicacy. Then she heads straight to Lakshya’s room. I hear her rummaging through stuff, and she eventually comes out with a bag in one hand and her car keys in the other. I’m still standing motionless with my hands on the door. She continues to keep her eyes focused on the floor as she passes me again, but this time, she makes a quick movement with her hand and wipes away a tear.
She walks out the door, down the stairs, and straight to her car, never speaking a word.
I wanted her to tell me she hated me. I wanted her to punch me and scream at me and call me a b*t*h. I wanted her to give me a reason to be angry, because right now, my heart is breaking for her, and I know there isn’t a damn thing I could say to make her better. I know this for a fact, because I’ve recently been in the same situation that Lakshya and I have just put her in.
We just made her a Ragini.
The third and final text comes through when I pull up to the hospital. I know it’s the final text, because it’s pulled from the conversation I had with Ragini less than two hours ago. It’s the very last thing I messaged her.
Ananya: “Don’t thank me, Ragini. You shouldn’t thank me, because I failed miserably at trying not to fall in love with you.”
I can’t take any more. I throw the phone into the passenger seat and exit the vehicle, then sprint into the hospital and straight up to her room. I push open the door and rush inside, preparing to do whatever I can to persuade her to hear me out.
When I’m inside her room, I’m instantly gutted.
I press my palms against my forehead and pace the empty room, trying to figure out how I can take it all back. She read everything. Every single conversation I’ve ever had with Ragini on my laptop. Every single honest feeling I’ve shared, every joke we’ve made, every flaw we’ve listed.
Why was I so damn careless?
Twenty-five years I’ve lived without ever experiencing this type of hatred. It’s the type of hatred that completely overwhelms the conscience. It’s the type of hatred that excuses otherwise inexcusable actions. It’s the type of hatred that can be felt in every facet of the body and in every inch of the soul. I’ve never known it until this moment. I’ve never hated anything or anyone with as much intensity as I hate myself right now.