This is the next part of the story. Sorry I haven’t been able to proofread it, so there could be some typos. Thanks so much for all your comments. they truly keep me going and make me want to take out the time to write the story regularly despite busy worklife. thanks for keeping me motivated. – Azure
Sanskar has been trying to enjoy the cool breeze on the terrace, in the past three days, he had been a regular visitor to the place and it had nothing to do with the cool breeze or enjoying fresh air, though that is what he had been using as an excuse. No, the real reason for quite different. It was the decidedly unfriendly thoughts that he was having about his best friend.
He was no child. He had dated before and been around attractive women. In fact, if someone asked him, he would have also said that he had been in love before, but in the light of the confusion around Swara and what he really knew of here, he wasn’t all that sure he knew her, much less be in love with her. This wasn’t about Swara though. No, he hadn’t thought much or even at all about her in the last couple of days, unless it was in the context of Ragini. No the problem was that he was attracted to his best friend. He was feeling attracted towards Ragini.
He had not been able to read beyond one paragraph in that book in the past few days. When she was out of the room, his thoughts drifted to her and her smile and her laughter. When she was in the room, his eyes, on their own violation and much against his wishes, would drift towards her eyes and the way they lit up when she was happy or excited. His eyes trailed her swan like delicate neck and the locks of silk gliding down it. If that wasn’t enough, his eyes seemed to be drawn towards her pink lips. Those accidental touches that were so common place between them before set his heart racing. The blush on her cheeks made him want to caress her cheeks and even find ways to make her blush. He basically felt like a teenager high on hormones. And that was problem. A big big problem!
They may have become the best of friends now, but he hadn’t forgotten that their relationship first started as husband and wife in a relationship that was forced and unwanted by both of them. He had come to mean a lot to him, so much so that he couldn’t imagine her not being part of it anymore. Just because he had brought attraction into their equation didn’t mean that it was mutual and he could never ever risk her and their friendship over this.
But there was a reason far bigger than this. Ragini was the most wonderful person he knew. She deserved all the happiness in the world. But most importantly, she deserved to be loved and loved truly. He did love her as a friend. But loving someone as a friend and being attracted to them didn’t equate to being romantically and truly in love with them. And he couldn’t give that to her. It wasn’t something to be forced. He hoped for both their sakes that he would get over this phase soon and things would go back to normal, because he hated rushing out of his room to put in some distance between him and Ragini as he had been.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath trying to calm down the anxiety and the attraction that were building inside him and fighting to take dominance. He missed spending time with her without wondering what was going on. True she had been busy trying to finish her project, but she always had time for him, and he hated running away.
As he took a deep breath, he felt her fragrance tickle his sense. Warm, flowery, alluring. Great! As if he wasn’t driving himself crazy staring at her, now he has started imagining her fragrance around him. He was really losing it, he thought annoyed at himself.
“It is really nice in here” came a soft voice beside him
Sanskar opened his eyes shocked and looked around to see Ragini standing next to him. His heart beats raced. So he wasn’t imaging her fragrance then. That god for little mercies. He hadn’t become crazy yet.
“I thought I would check where you have been going off to these days” Ragini said softly
Sanskar nodded “Taking a break?” he asked her
Ragini nodded “But there is so much to do”
“You are stressing yourself too much” Sanskar said feeling concerned
“I barely have three days left before I need to submit the project” Ragini said, tension showing on her face even as she moved her hand towards her neck, rubbing it a bit
“Is it paining?” Sanskar asked indicating her neck.
“Just a little. It is okay” she assured him
But Sanskar felt concerned. He walked over and stood behind her, pulling her hand away. She turned her neck to the side, but by then he had moved her hair away from her neck to one side. Ragini turned her head back, looking in front of her. She bit her lip to prevent a gasp from leaving her lips, as his fingers trailed across her neck leaving her skin with charged. There had been something about Sanskar in the past few days. There was something in his eyes that was leaving her feeling, well she couldn’t entirely say what she was feeling like because she had never felt this way. She just felt a bit besides herself. Actually more a bit besides.
Sanskar had been wondering in the past few days if he hair was as silky as he looked. Now he knew as he moved the delicate strands of beautiful silky mass away from her neck. As he started at her neck and small part of her exposed back, he was left screaming at himself. Asking him what the hell was that. He had been trying to put some distance until he got over this attraction and now he was getting closer! How was this going to help? But wasn’t she his best friend and wasn’t she in pain right now? Didn’t he want to help? Correction, she wasn’t his best friend. She was his best friend who he was attracted to! So what? Did that mean he didn’t care for her? And if he cared shouldn’t he help ease her pain.
“I should” he muttered
“What?” Ragini asked softly
“Nothing” he said softly as he moved his hands towards her neck and gently rubbed his thumbs along her neck to try and ease her pain. The silence would have been hard to bear as he focused on massaging her neck even as his heart was thudding loudly inside his chest. The feel of the soft skin didn’t help much. He decided needed to distract himself from this.
“You are really stressed about this, aren’t you?” he asked looking at the back of her head and not trying to see what his fingers were doing.
Ragini nodded “I don’t know if I will meet the deadline” she said, her voice giving away her nervousness. Though only she knew that it was for more reasons that just the project, though she was really worried about it too.
“How much do you have still left to complete?” He asked softly
“I still have to finish the greenhouse in soft copy version and then I have to finish the top floor and greenhouse in the main blueprint submission. I also have almost a third of the back-up blueprint copy to complete”
“You are stretching yourself too much” Sanskar told her concerned “You are trying to complete the project and help with the house work. You need to drop the house work for the next few days. That should do it”
“I don’t want to put all the work on them” Ragini said referring to Badi Maa, Mom and Pari
“You can also cannot keep on doing the crazy things you are doing, trying to get up in the middle of the night and work on the project. You are going to make yourself sick.” He told her “Talk to them. Or I will”
“Sanskar, please don’t” Ragini pleaded
“I cannot see you like this. You are so stressed. Please, just listen to me on this” Sanskar tried to reason “Please”
Ragini nodded “Okay” she said giving in “I will talk to Bhabhi”
“Why Bhabhi?” Sanskar asked
“Because she will be the one left to do my work as well” Ragini explained
They stood there in silence for a few minutes as Sanskar continued to massage her neck and her shoulders “Feeling better?” he asked whispered softly near her ears as he leaned in
“Ummmhmmm” Ragini managed to mutter even as she felt a shiver pass through her body
“Are you feeling cold?” he asked her gently seeing her shiver
Ragini shook her head “Just some chilly breeze” she managed to answer
Sanskar rubbed his hands along her arms to make her feel warm “If it is too cold, we can go inside” he offered
Before Ragini could answer either way, they heard “Looks like someone is on romantic date”
Ragini and Sanskar turned around startled to find Adarsh bhaiyaa and Pari Bhabhi looking at them amused
“It is nothing like that” they both said together, before turning to look at each other
“I was just taking break from project” Ragini quickly explained at the same time as Sanskar said “I was here for fresh air” both overlapping their responses.
“Is that what it is called these days?” Adarsh asked them
“Adarsh! Stop teasing them” Pari told him, without really meaning it.
“Bhabhi! Not you too!” Sanskar said annoyed
“We have upset my little brother. We disturbed their date” Adarsh said looking at Pari
“They weren’t on a date, Adarsh” Pari explained amused
“Didn’t you see what was going on? I would call that date” Adarsh told Pari raising his eyebrows suggestively “Even our dates are lame in front of them”
“Adarsh, they are turning into tomatoes. Just look at them” Pari said looking at them. They were both blushing a lot, Sanskar feeling annoyed as well
“What are you doing here?” Sanskar asked annoyed
“We were hoping for some quality romantic time together” Adarsh explained, amused “We are really sorry we disturbed you, aren’t we Pari?” Adarsh said looking at her
Pari took pity on Ragini who had been blushing red by then “Let them be Adarsh” she told him gently. Adarsh smiled at her and nodded.
“Have you been able to get much done on your project?” Pari Bhabhi asked her
“I have done some, but there is lot still left” Ragini told her, still recovering from the blush
“Actually I was going to tell you that you should focus on it for the next few days. You don’t have much time left for submission, right?” Pari asked her. Ragini nodded “Leave the house work to me”
Ragini looked at Sanskar, they shared a smile before Ragini rushed and hugged Pari “Thank you so much Bhabhi”
“She was going to talk to you about it” Sanskar explained
“Why didn’t you?” Pari asked
“We just spoke about it today” Sanskar answered for Ragini
“Well you better get on with the project then. Enough break” Adarsh said seriously
“Adarsh!” Pari scolded him
“What? They are done with their date. Now we can spend some time together peacefully” He told her
Sanskar and Ragini smiled at them and made excuses to rush out of there and give them some privacy. But before they left, they heard Adarsh say “We are going to have to make a timetable with them now, on when each one uses the terrace, so that we don’t disturb each other” making them blush all over again.
The next three days had been hectic for Ragini and Sanskar was trying to ensure that she wasn’t drowning herself in the project so much that she forgot to eat and sleep on time. Once the project hard copes had been couriered, one to her uni and one to her friend Mark for submission, just in case the uni courier messed up, Ragini has been anxious to track their progress. Sanskar had to get his Badi Maa, Mom, Pari Bhabhi and even Uttara to keep her busy while her assured her he would track the package for her, so that she wouldn’t drive herself crazy with anxiety. She had only calmed down once both the uni and Mark confirmed they had received the project.
Sanskar was sitting with Ragini in their room, after they had just received confirmation of the package delivery. Family had had lunch and everyone had retired to their respective rooms for some siesta.
“We should celebrate the completion of your project” Sanskar told her warmly “What do you want to do?”
“I can ask for anything?” Ragini asked
Sanskar looked at her questioningly but nodded
“Add you will do it?” she asked “Promise?”
“What are you planning to make me do?” he asked suspicious
“You have to promise me first” Ragini said with a bright smile. He couldn’t deny her anything, when she was looking so happy, so he agreed.
“I want to watch a movie” Ragini said excitedly
“Okay. Which one? I will have the tickets booked” Sanskar told her
“I want to watch Adi’s movie” Ragini said brightly “I have the entire collection” she said rushing to her section and getting all those DVDs out and placing them on the bed
“Not that Itaydi with cuckoo’s nest” Sanskar moaned “I am not watching his movies”
“You promised!” Ragini cut in
“That is cheating!” Sanskar exclaimed
“How is it cheating?” she asked, glaring at him
“Okay! Fine!” he said giving in, making a face “Get some popcorn ready”
Ragini rushed out of the room and came back fifteen minutes later with a bowl full of popcorn.
“Which one do you want to watch?” he asked looking at the DVDs, turning them around
“Ummm” Ragini said thinking
“Ohhhh! Katrina! I like her!” Sanskar said looking at the cover of one
Ragini looked at him “Actually that is a bit boring. It is really slow. I don’t want to watch it today” she told him
“Ohh! Aishwarya! Now she is a beauty. I haven’t seen this one before either” he said looking at the name ‘Guzarish’
“That is a sad story! I don’t want to watch sad stories today” Ragini told him
“What about this one?” he picked up another cover “This one had Aishwarya as well” he said with a smile
“I don’t like Akshay Kumar that much. And you will tease him more because of his hair style in that” She said pulling it from his hands and putting it in the rejected pile
“What about one of these? Shradha is really pretty and Parineeti is so cute and bubbly” he said smiling brightly at her
“He dies in that one” Ragini said pulling the DVD of Ashiqui from his hands “And I don’t want you teasing him because of his look in this one” she said pointing to Dawat-e-ishq.
“I won’t tease him. I will focus on Parineeti” Sanskar said sincerely
“It is celebration for my project completion. So I get to choose the movie” Ragini said primly “And I choose this one” she said picking up the DVD for ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’
“Are you sure about this one?” Sanskar asked calmly. Ragini nodded “No going back and keeping on changing your pick, okay?” Sanskar told her. Ragini nodded again.
Sanskar beamed at her “Great! Deepika is my favorite. She is so s*xy” he told her pulling the DVD out of her hand
“That is cheating!” Ragini shot at him
“How is this cheating?” he asked her.
“You made me choose this one?” Ragini said glaring at him
“And how exactly did I do that?” he asked with a teasing smile as it put the DVD in the player and came to sit next to her
“Ummmm” Ragini said but didn’t explain further
Sanskar leaned closer to her “You weren’t trying to pick one with an actress that I didn’t like, were you?”
“Why would I do that?” Ragini asked shrugging her shoulders “And you seem to be crazy about all of them!!” she said annoyed before lying down on her stomach to watch the movie, with the bowl of popcorn in front of her.
Sanskar gave her an amused smile before mimicking her position and lying next to her “You don’t like my liking those actresses?” he asked her with a soft teasing smile
“Why should I care?” Ragini trying to focus on the movie
Sanskar gave a smile and looked at the movie as well “Oh! I cannot wait for the second half. She looks really hot in those lehenga. She had such an amazing figure” Sanskar said pretending to focus on the movie as he looked at her from the corner of his eye.
“Sanskar! How can you say such things about a girl? And those clothes! She should wear something more covered up” Ragini complained
“If she wants to wear those, why are you getting so bothered?” He asked her casually
“What do you mean? Would you be okay with me wearing such clothes?” She asked trying to counter him
“No” he told her honestly
“Why are you so happy about her wearing it then?” she asked annoyed
“I don’t care about her or what she wears. But I care about you. You are” He trailed off
“I am what?” Ragini asked him, still feeling mad
“You are a lot more beautiful than her” he told her softly
“Ohh!” she uttered even as she began to blush
“Shall we watch the movie now?” Sanskar asked her teasingly seeing her blush
Ragini blushed at focused on the movie ahead, as Sanskar grabbed some popcorn and munched on them.
Ragini was soon lost in the movie and more into watching Aditya Roy Kapoor. Sanskar was looking at her from the side of his eyes. She had been holding a popcorn close to her mouth for some time, but was lost in the scene. Sanskar felt a bit annoyed. He leaned over and ate the popcorn directly from her hand.
Ragini looked at him and then her hand and then back at him again. Blush rising on her cheeks as she realized what he had done.
“Oh! Were you going to eat that? You were holding it for so long, I wasn’t sure” Sanskar said casually, before adding “I am sorry. Here, have this” he said, picking up a popcorn and taking it near her lips for her to have it.
Ragini looked at it for a second before gently eating the popcorn out of his hands. Sanskar went back to watching the movie with an accomplished smile on his face even as Ragini blushed some more.
They had been watching the movie from some more time when a scene was played where the actor’s tom boyish friend picks up a fight with some other tourist. As Sanskar was watching it, something struck him. He sat up and rewinded the scene.
Ragini looked at him puzzled “Sanskar?” she asked him gently
But Sanskar just signaled her to be quiet for a bit. He saw the scene and was lost in thought for a while. She sat there watching him, feeling confused and concerned about whatever it was that was bothering him. Before she could ask him about it again, he jumped off the bed and reached for his mobile. He messaged someone and then waiting there watching the screen. There was a ping of a message. He messaged something back and rushed to the wardrobe. He picked up some clothes and rushed to the washroom before she could ask him anything.
He was out of the washroom in literally 5 minutes.
“Sanskar?” she asked him confused
Sanskar saw her “I have to do somewhere right now. I promise I will watch the movie with you some other time. I will make it up to you. I promise” he told her before adding “I am really sorry. I will be back soon, okay?” he asked her
He didn’t wait for her response. He quickly walked over to her and gave her a peck on the check, lost in his own thoughts, and rushed out even before she or for that matter he realized what had happened.
“Ummm” she squeaked softly as she realized what had happened. Blush rose along her cheeks and a shy smile broke on her lips.
Precap – meeting with the person messaged
Links to previous chapters
Credit to: Azure