Hello beautiful people…thank you for the heartwarming response that all of you have given…it made my writing experience more enjoyable…here is the new update, I hope you guys like this too 🙂
Also, I tend to write really long stories..so I hope you don’t get bored with the number of episode that will be coming up 🙂
If he hated them, the least he could have done was send a thank you. I know it shouldn’t bother me, but it does. Especially because I never wanted to send them to him in the first place. I wasn’t expecting him to praise me, but the fact that he begged so hard for them and then just ignored them sort of irritates me.
And he hasn’t been outside at his usual time in almost a week. I’ve wanted to text him about it so many times, but if I do, then it’ll seem as if I care what he thinks of the lyrics. I don’t want to care. But I can tell by how disappointed I feel that I do care. I hate that I want him to like my lyrics. But the thought of actually having a hand in a song is a little bit exciting.
“Food should be here in a little while. I’m going to get the clothes out of the dryer,” Kritika says. She opens the front door, and I perk up on the couch when I hear the familiar sound of the guitar from outside. She closes the door behind her, and as much as I want to ignore it, I rush to my room and quietly slide out onto the patio, books in hand. If I sink far enough into my chair, he might not notice I’m out here.
But he’s looking straight at my balcony when I step outside. He doesn’t acknowledge me with a smile or even a nod of his head when I take my seat. He just continues playing, and it makes me curious to see if he’s just going to pretend our conversation last week never happened. I sort of hope so, because I’d like to pretend it never happened.
He plays the familiar songs, and it doesn’t take me long to let go of my embarrassment over the fact that he thought my lyrics were stupid. I tried to warn him.
I finish up my homework while he’s still playing, close my books and lean back, and close my eyes. It’s quiet for a minute, and then he begins playing the song I sent him lyrics for. In the middle of the song, the guitar pauses for several seconds, but I refuse to open my eyes. He continues playing just as my phone vibrates with an incoming text..
Lakshya: You’re not singing.
I glance at him, and he’s staring at me with a grin. He looks back down at his guitar and watches his hands as he finishes the song. Then he picks up his phone and sends another text.
Lakshya: Do you want to know what I thought of the lyrics?
Me: No, I’m pretty positive I know what you thought. It’s been a week since I sent them to you. No worries. I told you they were stupid.
Lakshya: Yeah, sorry about the silence. I had to leave town for a few days. Family emergency.
I don’t know if he’s telling the truth, but the fact that he claims he’s been out of town eases my fear that he hasn’t been out on his balcony because of me.
Me: Everything okay?
Lakshya: I’m only going to say this once, Ragini. Are you ready?
Me: Oh, God. No. I’m turning off my phone.
Lakshya: I know where you live.
Lakshya: You’re incredible. Those lyrics. I can’t even describe to you how perfect they are for the song. How in the hell does that come out of you? And why can’t you see that you need to LET it come out of you? Don’t hold it in. You’re doing the world a huge disservice with your modesty. I know I agreed not to ask you for more, but that was because I really didn’t expect to get what I got from you. I need more. Give me, give me, give me.
I let out a huge breath. Until this moment, I didn’t realize exactly how much his opinion mattered. I can’t look up at him yet. I continue to stare at my phone for much longer than it takes me to read the text. I don’t even text him back, because I’m still relishing the compliment. If he said he loved it, I would have accepted his opinion with relief, and I would have moved on. But the words he just texted were like stairs stacked one on top of the other, and each compliment was like me running up each step until I reached the top of the damn world.
Holy crap. I think this one text just gave me enough confidence to send him another song. I never would have predicted this. I never imagined I would be excited.
“Food’s here,” Kritika says. “You want to eat out here?”
I tear my gaze away from the phone and look at her. “Uh. Yeah. Sure.”
Kritika brings the food out to the patio. “I’ve never really looked at that guy before, but damn,” she says, staring hard at Lakshya while he plays his guitar. “He’s really hot and his black unruly hair adds onto the charm
“His hair isn’t black. It’s brown.”
“No, that’s black,” she says. “But it might be dark brown, so that’s okay, I guess. Almost brown, maybe. I like the messy shag, and that body makes up for the fact that his hair isn’t black.” Kritika takes a drink and leans back in her chair, still staring at him. “Maybe I’m being too picky. What do I care what colour his hair is? It’ll be dark when I have my hands in it, anyway.”
I shake my head. “He’s really talented,” I say. I still haven’t responded to his text, but he doesn’t seem to be waiting around. He’s watching his hands as he plays, not paying a bit of attention to us.
“I wonder if he’s single,” Kritika says. “I’d like to see what other talents he has.”
I have no idea if he’s single, but the way Kritika is thinking about him makes my stomach turn. Kritika is incredibly cute, and I know she could find out if he had other talents if she really wanted to. She tends to get whomever she wants in the guy department. I’ve never really minded until now.
“You don’t want to be involved with a musician,” I say, as if I have any experience that would qualify me to give her advice. “Besides, I’m pretty sure Lakshya does have a girlfriend. I saw a girl on his patio with him a few weeks ago.” That’s technically not a lie. I did see one once.
Kritika glances at me. “You know his name? How do you know his name?”
I shrug as if it’s no big deal. Because, honestly, it is no big deal. “He needed help with lyrics last week, so I texted him some.”
She sits up in her chair. “You know his phone number?”
I suddenly become defensive, not liking the accusatory tone in her voice. “Calm down, Kritika. I don’t even know him. All I did was text him a few lyrics.”
She laughs. “I’m not judging, Rags,” she says, holding up her hands in defence. “I don’t care how much you love Vikrant, if you have an opening with that”—she flicks her hand in Lakshya’s direction—“I’d be livid if you didn’t take advantage of it.”
I roll my eyes. “You know I’d never do that to Vikrant.”
She sighs and leans back in her chair. “Yeah. I know.”
We’re both looking at Lakshya when he finishes the song. He picks up his phone and types something, then picks up his guitar just as my phone vibrates and he begins to play another song.
Kritika reaches for my phone, but I grab it first and hold it out of her reach. “That’s from him, isn’t it?” she says. I read the text.
Lakshya: When Barbie goes away, I want more.
I cringe, because there’s no way I’m letting Kritika read this text. For one thing, he insulted her. Also, the second part of his text would have an entirely different meaning if she read it. I hit delete and press the power button down to lock my phone in case she snatches it away from me.
“You’re flirting,” she says teasingly. She picks up her empty plate and stands up. “Have fun with your s*xting.”
Ugh. I hate that she thinks I’d ever do that to Vikrant. I’ll worry about setting her straight later, though. In the meantime, I take out my notebook and find the page with the lyrics I wrote to the song he’s currently playing. I transfer them to a text, hit send, and hurry back inside.
“That was so good,” I say as I place my plate in the sink. “That’s probably my favourite Italian restaurant in all of Mumbai.” I walk to the couch and fall down next to Kritika, trying to appear casual about the fact that she thinks I’m cheating on Vikrant. The more defensive I get about it, the less likely she’ll be to believe me when I try to deny it.
“Oh, my God, that reminds me,” she says. “The funniest thing happened a couple of weeks ago at this Italian restaurant. I was eating lunch with . . . my mom, and we were out on the patio. Our waiter was telling us about dessert, when all of a sudden; this cop car comes screeching around the corner, sirens blaring . . .”
I’m holding my breath, scared to hear the rest of her story.
What the hell? Vikrant said he was with a co-worker. The odds of them both being at the same restaurant, without being there together, is way more than coincidental
But why would they lie about being together?
My heart is folding in on itself. I think I’m going to be sick.
How could they . . .
“Rags? Are you okay?” Kritika is looking at me with genuine concern. “You look like you’re about to be sick.”
I put my hand over my mouth, because I’m afraid she might be right. I can’t answer her right away. I can’t even work up the strength to look at her. I try to still my hand, but I can feel it trembling against my mouth.
Why would they be together and not tell me? They’re never together without me. They’d have no reason to be together unless they were planning something.
Wait a second.
I press my palm against my forehead and shake my head back and forth. I feel as if I’m in the midst of the stupidest moment in all of my nearly twenty-three years of existence. Of course they were together. Of course they’re hiding something. It’s my birthday next Saturday.
Not only do I feel incredibly stupid for having believed they would do something like that to me, but I feel unforgivably guilty.
“You okay?” Kritika says with genuine concern.
I nod. “Yeah.” I decide not to mention the fact that I know she was with Vikrant. I would feel even worse if I ruined their surprise. “I think the Italian food is just making me a little nauseated. I’ll be right back.” I stand and walk to my bedroom, then sit on the edge of my bed in order to regain my bearings. I’m filled with a mixture of doubt and guilt. Doubt, because I know neither of them would do what I briefly thought they had done. Guilt, because for a brief moment, I actually believed they were capable of it.
I was hoping the first set of lyrics wasn’t a fluke, but after seeing the second set she sent me and adding them to the music, I text Sanskar. I can’t not tell him about her any longer.
Me: I’m about to send you two songs. I don’t even need you to tell me what you think of them, because I know you’ll love them. So let’s move past that, because I need you to solve a dilemma for me.
Sanskar: Oh, shit. I was just kidding about the Ananya thing. You didn’t really dump her for inspiration did you?
Me: I’m being serious. I found a girl who I’m positive was brought to this earth specifically for us.
Sanskar: Sorry, man. I’m not into that shit. I mean, maybe if you weren’t my brother, but still.
Me: Stop with the horseshit, Sanskar. Her lyrics. They’re perfect. And they come so effortlessly to her. I think we need her. I haven’t been able to write songs like these since . . . well, ever. Her lyrics are perfect, and you need to take a look at them, because I sort of need you to love them and agree to buy them from her.
Sanskar: What the hell, Lakshya? We can’t hire someone to write lyrics for us. She’ll want a percentage of the royalties, and between the two of us and the guys in the band, it won’t be worth it.
Me: I’m going to ignore that until you check the e-mail I just sent you.
I put my phone down and pace the room, giving him time to take a look at what I just sent him. My heart is pounding, and I’m sweating, even though it’s not at all hot in this room. I just can’t take him telling me no, because I’m scared that if we can’t use her, I’ll be facing another six months of a concrete wall.
After several minutes, my phone vibrates. I drop to my bed and pick it up.
Sanskar: Okay. See what she’s willing to take, and let me know.
I smile and toss the phone into the air and feel like yelling. After I calm down enough to text her, I pick up my phone and think. I don’t want to freak her out, because I know she’s completely new to this kind of thing.
Me: I was wondering if we could talk sometime soon?. I have a proposition for you. And get your mind out of the gutter; it’s completely music-related.
Ragini: Okay. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, because it makes me nervous. You want me to call you when I get off work?
Me: You work?
Ragini: Yes. Campus library. Morning shift mostly, except for this weekend.
Me: Oh. I guess that’s why I never noticed. I don’t usually get out of bed until after lunch.
Ragini: So do you want me to call you after I get home?
Me: Just text me. You think we can meet up sometime this weekend?
Ragini: Probably, but I’d have to talk to my boyfriend. Don’t want him to find out and think you’re using me for more than my lyrics.
Me: K. Sounds good.
Ragini: If you want, you could come to my birthday party tomorrow night. Might be easier, because he’ll be here.
Me: It’s your birthday tomorrow? Happy early birthday. And that sounds good. What time?
Ragini: Not sure. I’m not supposed to know about it. I’ll just text you tomorrow night once I find out more.
Honestly, I don’t like the fact that her boyfriend might be there. I want to talk to her about it alone, because I still haven’t decided what to do about what I know is going on between that ass**le and her roommate. But I need her to agree to help me before her heart gets shattered, so maybe my silence has been a little selfish. I do admire the fact that she wants to be honest with him, even though he doesn’t deserve it. Which makes me think maybe this is something I should bring up to Ananya, even though it never occurred to me before that it might even remotely be an issue.
Me: Hey. How’s my girl?
Ananya: Busy. This thesis is kicking my ass. How’s my guy?
Me: Good. Really good. I think Sanskar and I found someone who’s willing to write lyrics with us. She’s really good, and I’ve already finished almost two songs since you left last weekend.
Ananya: Lakshya, that’s great! I can’t wait to read them. Maybe next weekend?
Me: You coming here, or am I going to you?
Ananya: I’ll come there. I need to spend some time at the nursing home. Love you.
Me: Love you. Don’t forget our video chat tonight.
Ananya: You know I won’t. Already have my outfit picked out.
Me: That better be a cruel joke. You know I don’t care to see clothes.
Eight more hours.
I toss the phone aside. I pull open my bedroom door and take a step back when the shit that’s been piled up on the other side begins to fall in on me. First it’s the lamp, then the end table it was resting on, then the end table the lamp and the other end table were piled on top of.
These pranks are starting to get out of hand. I press my arm into the couch that’s been shoved up against my bedroom door. I push it back out into the living room and jump over it, then head toward the kitchen.
I carefully spoon toothpaste onto an Oreo, then replace the top of the cookie and gently squeeze it. I put it back into the package with the rest of Amit’s Oreos and seal the package shut, just as my phone vibrates.
Ragini: Can you do me a favour?
She has no idea how many favours I’d do for her right now. I’m pretty much at her mercy.
Me: What’s up?
Ragini: Can you look out your balcony door and tell me if you see anything suspicious going on at my apartment?
Shit. Does she know? What does she want me to tell her? I know it’s selfish, but I really don’t want to tell her about her boyfriend until after I have the chance to talk to her about the lyrics.
Me: Okay. Hold on.
I walk to my balcony and glance across the courtyard. I don’t see anything out of the ordinary. It’s almost dark, though, so I can’t see much. I’m not sure what she wants me to find, so I choose not to be too descriptive when I respond.
Me: Looks quiet.
Ragini: Really? Are the blinds open? You don’t see people?
I look again. The blinds are open, but the only thing I can see from here is the glare from the TV.
Me: Doesn’t look like anyone’s home. Aren’t you having a birthday party later tonight?
Ragini: I thought so. I’m really confused.
There’s movement in one of the windows, and I see her roommate going into the living room. Ragini’s boyfriend follows closely behind her, and they both sit on the couch, but all I can see is their feet.
Me: Wait. Your boyfriend and your roommate just sat on the couch.
Ragini: Okay. Sorry to bother you.
Me: Wait. What about tonight? Are you still having a birthday party?
Ragini: I don’t know. Vikrant says he’s taking me out to eat as soon as I get home from work, but I sort of thought it was a lie. I know he and Kritika had lunch together a couple of weeks ago, but they don’t know I know. They were obviously planning something, and I assumed it was a surprise party, but tonight’s the only night that could happen.
I wince. She actually caught them in a lie, and she thought they were together because they were planning something nice for her. Christ. I don’t even know the guy, and I have a huge urge to walk over there and beat the shit out of him.
It’s her birthday. I can’t tell her on her birthday. I take a deep breath, then decide to text Ananya for advice.
Me: Question. You busy?
Ananya: Nope. Shoot.
Me: If it was your birthday and someone you knew found out I was cheating on you, would you want to know right then? Or would you hope that person would wait to tell you until it was no longer your birthday?
Ananya: If this is a hypothetical question, I’m going to kill you for this heart attack. If it’s not hypothetical, I’m going to kill you for this heart attack.
Me: You know it’s not me. It’s not your birthday. 😉
Ananya: Who’s cheating on whom?
Me: It’s Ragini’s birthday today. The girl I was telling you about who writes the lyrics. I happen to know her boyfriend is cheating on her, and I’m kind of in a position where I should tell her because she’s becoming suspicious.
Ananya: Jesus. I’d hate to be you right now. But if she’s suspicious and you know for a fact that he’s cheating, you need to tell her, Lakshya. If you don’t say anything, you’re inadvertently lying.
Me: Ugh! That’s what I thought you’d say.
Ananya: Good luck. I’m still going to kill you for the heart attack next weekend.
I sit on the bed, then start a text to Ragini.
Me: I’m not sure how to say this, Ragini. You’re not driving right now, are you?
Ragini: Oh, jeez. There are people there, aren’t there? Lots of them?
Me: No, there isn’t anyone there but the two of them. First, I need to apologize for not telling you this sooner. I didn’t know how, because we don’t know each other that well. Second, I’m sorry for doing it on your birthday, of all days, but I feel like an ass for even waiting this long. And third, I’m sorry you have to find out via text, but I don’t want you to have to walk back into your apartment without knowing the truth first.
Ragini: You’re scaring me, Lakshya.
Me: I’m just going to rip the Band-Aid off, okay? Something has been going on between your roommate and your boyfriend for a while.
I hit send and close my eyes, knowing I’m completely ruining her birthday. If not pretty much every day after today, too.
Ragini: Lakshya, they’ve been friends for longer than I’ve even known Vikrant. I think you’ve misinterpreted everything.
Me: If sticking your tongue down someone’s throat while straddling him is friendship, then I’m sorry. But I’m positive I’m not misinterpreting anything. It’s been going on for weeks. I’m assuming they come out to the patio while you’re in the shower, because they’re never out there long. But it happens a lot.
Ragini: If you’re being honest, why didn’t you tell me when we first started talking?
Me: How does one comfortably say this to another person, Ragini? When is there ever an appropriate time? I’m telling you now because you’re becoming suspicious, and it’s as appropriate a time as it can be.
Ragini: Please tell me you have a warped sense of humour, because you have no idea what you’re doing to my heart right now.
Me: I’m sorry, Ragini. Really.
I wait patiently for a response. She doesn’t text me back. I contemplate texting her, but I know she needs time to absorb this.
Dammit, I’m such an ass**le. Now she’ll probably be pissed at me, but I can’t blame her. I guess I can kiss the lyrics good-bye.
My door swings open, and Amit barges in, then hurls a cookie straight at me. I duck, and it hits the headboard behind me.
“Asshole!” Amit yells. He turns and marches back out of the bedroom and slams the door.