Story : Friendship or Love (Chapter 7)

Chapter – 8 [Trust]

Samaira was sitting by the riverside. The river bought memories from the past. Things she wanted to forget but live by at the same time. It was weird as to how years ago she had felt a sense of safety, security and belongingness by the same river and today, years later, she felt lonely & insecure. A strange emptiness surrounded her, shadowing her happiness. Clouds of darkness and danger hovered above. It was uncanny so as to how she trusted Adarsh and at the same time it didn’t feel right.

‘Give time some time’ she had read it on her facebook friend, Sweetie’s timeline.

She sighed. Nothing was going as per plans. Everything was scattered. Her emotions, liveliness, chirpiness and optimism seemed to be flying out of her soul, leaving her scarred for eternity. Though she was already scarred by Anil, this was something different yet similar. Something incorrect. It was weird in the worst way possible. Eerie. Evil.

And again when did anything go as per her plans? Fate had always played games with her. And she had always accepted everything wholeheartedly. When did she ever had a control on her life?

She decided to make some earthern wares. There was a lot of earth around the river. She didn’t need a potter’s wheel as she wasn’t doing this professionally. She was just going to put her hands in the mud, to feel filled again, to be able to connect to somebody. And who else is better than a mother. Our mother. Earth. Nature.

She gathered some mud and rolled it into a round mud ball. Pressing her thumb in the middle, she let the earth enter her nails. The cold feel of earth in her hands and the beautiful fragrance of the wet ground sent her into her memory lane. The time when was made aware of the fact that there wasn’t any reason of her optimism. No source of her motivation. No remains of her mentors ——-

[ A/N : This is when Neil tells her that Shiv and Prerna are dead. In the morning she consoles him but at night, she is near the river and the rest you know. So this is what happened the next day when she woke up.]

“Rest now. We are going out by five.” Neil said putting their plates in the sink.

She obediently obeyed. She didn’t argue. She didn’t have the potential to. Treading into her room she pulled the curtains and laid down beside the bed. Her left arm and head resting on the bed while her torso leant on it and legs were flattened on the floor. She slept like that.

In the evening, when she woke up, he asked her to get ready. They then left for somewhere.

“Where are we going?” She asked desperately.

“You will see.” He replied shortly and she didn’t ask any questions again.

After an hour, they were travelling on the outskirts of their city. She kept staring outside. At the trees and poles whizzing past her. The car came to a halt in front of what looked like a graveyard. She was surprised. Why would he bring her here? This area was just a few kilometres away from the hills. Maybe he had some work here.

Gosh. He wasn’t going to murder her. Was he?

Her thoughts were interrupted as he slammed open the door and jogged up to her side. She stepped out when he opened the door. Walking a few steps, she halted near the gates of the graveyard. The gates were rusted, climbers twined around the walls. Behind her, he slammed shut the doors of the car and came up to her. Before any of her ridiculous thoughts troubled her, he placed his hand on her back pushing her forward. As soon as they reached the gate, an old lady stepped forward. She had silver locks which fell over her face. Her eyes were grey and her face, wrinkled. She smiled as she saw him standing behind her.

“You here, son?” She asked, opening the gates.

Neil stepped forward and hugged the old lady who had now that strange twinkle in her eyes.

“Yeah, Mollie. Long time, right?”

The old lady chuckled and stepped aside, making space for the three of them to walk in. But Sam stayed rooted to her place. What the hell was happening? Just then, he grabbed her arm and pulled her forward. She groaned at his tactics. Idiot.

“And Mollie, this is Sam.”

“The one you were talking about the other day.” Said another voice. Sam looked around, and saw a girl, around her age, walking towards them. She instantly caught the similarity. The same grey eyes, small nose, oval face and slender cheekbones. Must say, the girl was an exact replica of Mollie.

She stepped towards them and Neil embraced her.

“Glad to see you, Mira.” He said kissing the side of her cheek. Sam’s gaze fell at the old lady, who for God knows what reason was admonishing her daughter through her eyes. Sam turned to look at the duo again and she immediately understood. While Neil was looking at her, scratching the back of his neck, seemingly unaware of the drool forming on Mira’s face; Mira was staring him with that dreamy look. As soon as she saw Sam, she sent her a glare clearly saying, ‘Back off b***c’.

Oh uh… Someone seems to have a possessive admirer.

“Yeah, its me. Hope he said the good things only.” Sam said, extending her hand looking at Mira.

“Good things like how you ate up seven pancakes in one go.” Neil chuckled as the atmosphere around turned light. The old lady smiled too while Mira’s eyes turned a darker shade of grey. What was with this girl? Sam had clearly not made any move on him and yet she was acting all psychotic.

“Shut up, Neil. I was just very hungry.” Sam mock glared as he continued to tell Mollie about how she ate four glasses of mint ice cream at the food court after one of their basket ball matches. She gasped. This guy was spilling her secrets to someone without her consent.

“You douche.” She hit him playfully and turned towards Mollie. “He’s lying. I didn’t eat four but five. He has the tendency to forget things.”

Neil cut in between. “I was coming to that part too, baby elephant. Remember, you ate four mint and another chocolate.”

Sam just raised her brows. How could he remember such minute details? And most importantly, why would he?

While she and Neil continued their bickering, she did hear what Mollie said.

“Young love. Best wishes kids.” Sam just ignored her words for she knew that many people used to associate their constant banter with love. Neil knew it too and that’s why he didn’t say anything but Mira stomped her foot and treaded out of the cemetery.

“Mollie, she’s here to meet them.” Neil said, turning serious all of a sudden. The old lady nodded and he dragged her towards a corner of the cemetery. His steps came to halt in front of a grave. She looked around and saw another one beside it. What caught her eye was the words,

” Shiv Malhotra
Great son,
Loving husband,
Caring father
& A True friend. ”

Her breathing stopped. Shiv uncle. She turned to look at him who was looking at the other grave. His eyes, focused but glassy. His hold over her hand had loosened. Turning around once again she saw what she was dreading.

” Prerna Malhotra
Adorable daughter and daughter in law,
Charming wife
Best mother
& A perfect friend. ”

If there was something as one’s legs being wobbly while her world spun, then this was it. She stumbled. She sat the corner of the grave, staring at them.

“They weren’t ….”

“No. I couldn’t let them go. I needed to know that I could see them whenever I wanted.” He said.

“Though this isn’t how I wanted to. But I guess, this will do.” He chuckled humourlessly and stepped back.

She stared at his retreating figure.

“Call me when you are done. Mollie will be here.” He said before turning around.

“You won’t stay?” She asked.

“I can’t. It’s your right. I don’t want to repeat the same mistake again.” He answered monotonously and rushed away from her.

“It wasn’t your fault.” She hollered at his back. He stiffened, turned around to see her face and stepped back. One. Two. Three and turning around again, he broke into a sprint.

She looked at the inscription again. She stared it until tears welled up in her eyes and slid down her cheeks. She bent over, sobbing. Images of them hugging her, kissing her forehead haunted her. His grin and her smile haunted her. She hugged herself sobbing harder. Why was this so difficult?

The times when Prerna scolded Neil for irritating her, Shiv lifted her up in the air, crossed her mind. And she screamed. Why did it hurt this much?

“You guys promised to be there for me, you promised to save me from every hurt and pain. Where are you now? When I need you the most. When it’s hurting, paining like hell. Where are you? You are not here. You broke your promises. You lied.” She spoke through her sobs. There was no one around but she and they.

“You told me to be true to my cause. To never hurt my loved ones. What did you do? You hurt me. You left me. Why? Did I do anything wrong?”

“Should have slapped me. Shouted at me. Told me where I went wrong. But you didn’t. Why?” Another scream left her throat, vibrating in the vicinity.

“Am I that bad? Was I too wrong?”

A warm hand rested over her left shoulder. She stiffened.

“Why are you here, Neil? Wanted to see me cry? Screaming my lungs out and then pity me? See, I am. Click a picture. Mock me. But leave me alone right now.” She snapped keeping her head down.

Another hand clamped her right shoulder, and in one swift moment, she was pulled up in an embrace. Those hands now rubbed her back soothing her while her hiccups died.

“Let it go, Sam. Don’t hold it back.” Mollie said.

And so she did. She cried her heart out, speaking in between her sobs. Telling Mollie how much she missed them. How much they meant to her. How much she loved them, admired them. And how lonely she felt now, when they weren’t here.

~~~~~

It was already dark when she stepped out of the cemetery. She had spent hours in there, talking to Mollie about her idols, her mentors. She was feeling light and after a long time, happy.

And now she was calling Neil, who wasn’t picking it up. She cursed under her breath and tried once again. He picked it up at the fifth ring.

“You idiot, why weren’t you picking up your phone? Where are you?” She rambled.

In response, she heard a boyish chuckle and then a slurred voice, “Sammy… Am so sorry.”

“Y’know I came to this club…”

“Neil, are you drunk?” She asked.

“and the drinks here are so…..”

“Are you drunk, Neil” She snapped, trying to keep her voice in check. Mollie was locking the gates. She had already decided to go with Mollie and was trying to inform him about the same. But this idiot.

“Hmm..” Came a meek response.

“How many?”

“Umm.. four, nine, seven, thirteen…………..” He paused and she heard him talking to someone on the other side.

“Hey, fifteen is greater or eighteen?” He asked the waiter who had served him the drinks earlier. The waiter ignored him and went on to make his drink.

Sam straightened. “Give the phone to the guy.” She ordered.

Neil sing sang a no and she enunciated his name. He pouted, childlike and turned to the waiter.

“She wants to talk to you.”

“Me?” The waiter asked surprised.

Neil nodded.

“Your mother?” He asked while Neil nodded a no.

“Your girlfriend?” He tried again but Neil smiled before shoving the phone in his face.

“Hello, Mam. This is not our fault. Sir was ordering drinks and when we refused he grabbed me by the collar and threatened to sue me. Please Mam, you need to understand that your boyfriend here has a body of a hulk so I thought not to go against him.” The frightened waiter rapped in one go.

Sam chuckled. Threatening. Really? “Don’t worry, I am not going to sue you, neither is he. Now tell me the address. I have to pick him up.”

The waiter spoke the address quickly trying not to fall into another mess.

“I will be there in an hour. Take care of him for me, will you? And please don’t let him drink.” Sam pleaded as Mollie came around and signed towards her Hyundai. Sam followed her towards the car.

“But Mam, he isn’t listening to any of us. We have tried.”

“Give him the phone. I’ll talk to him. But if I get to know that you served him another drink, I will make sure you pay.” She said settling in the car. The engine revved to life and Mollie drove towards the city. Sam quickly told her the address while the waiter handed Neil the phone.

“Neil. You won’t drink now.” Sam reprimanded. Mollie chuckled.

“Umm… I will.” He said whining.

“No.”

“Will you kiss me if I don’t.” He asked as his gaze fell on a couple nearby, sucking each other’s mouth.

Sam wondered what bought that up but the fact that he was in a club answered her query.

“If you promise you won’t drink, neither will you trouble the waiter who’s gonna take care of you till I arrive.” She demanded. She sure wasn’t going to kiss him but if this was a way to lure him out, than what’s the problem. Beside her, Mollie giggled amused by her response.

“I promise and I am not a baby to take care of.” He shot back.

“Oh. you are.” Sam laughed.

“Who’s? Yours?” He asked expectantly as the waiter stared him.

“Yeah, My baby.” She whispered chuckling how cute he could be at times like this. He was really a baby, her baby. But the realization of herself being high took a toll.

“Now hush.” She said and cut the call.

Mollie glanced at her and turned ahead again, “Trouble in paradise?” She asked.

“Nah, the idiot just got too drunk. Nothing much.” Sam replied.

“You love him, don’t you?”

Sam wondered why everyone around them seemed to say the same thing. Her friends at their high school and now at college. Teachers too. Everyone who saw them fight, had to snap his head between to say those same words. To her. Earlier, it had been embarrassing but now, she was accustomed to it.

“Yeah, I really do.” She lied smoothly, not wanting the old lady to be hurt.

“And he loves you too. I can see it. Whenever he talks about you, there is this constant smile on his lips and that twinkle in his eyes. He clearly enjoys spending time with you.”

Well that was new. The first time someone told her that Neil loved her too. Expressions could be deceiving sometimes. She sighed.

“Umm.. Thanks.”

“Take care of him, Sam. And I promise you, you won’t want anything else.” The old lady smiled.

“That I will.” She replied thinking of ways to irritate him in the morning with his hangover.

And they fell silent then. About half an hour later, the car stopped. Sam looked around trying to read out the boards. She read ‘Gibberish’ and realized it was the same club.

“Took a shortcut. I don’t think you will my need help. And it would be a breach of your privacy. So, goodbye.” Mollie smiled as Sam got out of the car and then drove off. Weird but charming lady.

She went inside the club pushing her way through the hordes of people. Some were dancing crazily, more like grinding their bodies against each other, while some were high on alcohol.

At the corner near the bar, she saw him sitting on a table, with his head bent on the table. A man clad in white and black was standing beside him. Must be the waiter, she thought as she stepped towards him.

“Neil.” She called. His head popped up at her voice and he smiled at her. The boyish one wherein his lips upturned revealing his poke-worthy dimples. His eyes shone as he patted the seat next to him. She found herself smiling back at him. His smile was contagious. Highly contagious.

~~~~~

Sam came out of the memory as she felt the water dripping her feet. She still remembered the night. It had taken all of her energy to get him home and then into bed. And when he asked for the kiss, she had pecked his cheeks and smiled down at him. In return, he had hugged her & then eventually fell asleep.

Now, as she saw the river, she knew she had to forget him. All about him. He couldn’t be any more than a friend. Spending time with Adarsh had earlier seemed awful, but that guy wasn’t bad at all. In fact, she had befriended him. Adarsh was just as Neil, carrying guilt of something he never did. He hadn’t told her what happened but she knew he needed someone just as Neil needed someone, a few years ago. She was going to be there for him. Afterall, the guy hadn’t run away when she said she wanted to be a virgin. And neither did he when she told him she loved someone. Instead, he had smiled warmly at her saying, “It just happens and we don’t even realize when.” The guy was so sweet that he hadn’t even asked the name. But she had told him everything except the fact that her unrequited love was her own best friend.

She was going to get married the next day. And she had to get a grip over her emotions. Adarsh was supportive and she had decided, she wasn’t going to hurt him in any way. Over the last month, they both had got attached to each other and now she wasn’t going to do anything stupid.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

His phone rang. Getting up from his bed, he walked towards the night stand where he had kept his phone earlier. Seeing the caller id, he took a deep breath and answered the call.

“Yeah.”

“Did you talk to her?” The other person asked.

“No.”

“What are you waiting for? Tomorrow’s her wedding. Go tell her. Or you will lose her.”

“I have already lost her.” Neil replied.

“No, you still have time. She has gone to the river. Go and meet her before it’s too late. I don’t want to repeat what I did earlier. This time I am not standing back and let her destroy any good thing that’s left for her.”

“This won’t change anything. She’s stubborn and once decided, she isn’t going to budge.” Neil said pulling his locks. Sam really was as stubborn as a mule. She wasn’t going to listen and they knew it.

“Well, I am her dad. If she’s stubborn, then I’m more than her.”

“But dad ……”

“No buts or ifs. Get moving Neil. I don’t want any of you losing the other one.” Samrat sighed. It was harder than he had thought of. He knew he couldn’t not do anything this time. He wasn’t going to let her be. He was going to interfere because he couldn’t see her suffering. Till now, had been enough for his princess. But not anymore.

So a few days ago, he had called Neil and demanded to meet him. They had met at Neil’s place. Without twisting his words, Samrat had asked, “Do you love her, Neil?”

“Who?” Had been Neil’s response. He wasn’t meeting his gaze and Samrat knew what the reality was.

“Stop her, Neil. Go tell her. Don’t let her marry Adarsh.” Samrat had said folding his hands.

Neil had been surprised and had immediately held Samrat’s hands asking him not to plead.

“Please son, I don’t want her hurting again.”

“Alright, I do love her. And so you know, it doesn’t matter now.”

Samrat had eventually got Neil agreeing to confess it to Sam. He had given him enough time and now he was taking things under his control.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Sam.” He greeted her bent over form. Her hands were muddy and her hair were falling over her face. She turned around sharply. As she saw him, her face fell. As if she had been expecting someone else and he had taken her time forcefully.

“I’m sorry for what happened in the farmhouse.” He said, settling down near her.

She hmmed in response and he continued.

“You know, after their death, I took to drinking and one night stands, thinking it would lessen the pain. That I could drown my hurt in alcohol and mindless s*x. I was so busy f**king my life that I pushed everyone away. Including those who had stood by me through all my shit. I pushed him and her away. Thinking I could handle it on my own. Never thought I could assume something so delirious. But then you came along…”

“Neil.” She cut him already guessing where this all was heading to. She couldn’t let him go there. It had been hard for her to not recall their past and he was making it harder. But seemed like, he didn’t listen for he went on.

“You mocked me, slapped me, kicked me, fought me, pulled my hair and put sense in me. You made me realize that I could do better. That I had to…….”

“Neil, please.” She pleaded again.

“You need to hear it all, Sam…… You were something I couldn’t decipher till years later. You came back like a boomerang whenever I threw you out. You pulled down all my defences. You exposed me to the reality and I thank you for that.”

“We were hurt the same way, Sam. Yet you fixed me while I kept breaking you. You pulled me out of every mess I created. And I didn’t even realize when your life merged with mine.”

She felt tears falling down her cheeks. This was the thing she had yearned to hear since years and today when he was saying it all, she didn’t have any courage left. She couldn’t do it.

“You became my need. My drug and I couldn’t let you go. But then, you broke my trance, pulled me out and I knew I had to. Had to let you go. And now again, I can’t, Sam.”

Her throat convulsed and her heart constricted. He wiped her tears, pulling her near. She surrendered. This was the last she could have.

“I need you, Sam. More than my own life. You need to know, Sam, that I…”

God! This wasn’t happening.

“Don’t Neil. Please don’t make it any more hard than it already is. What you want can’t happen. ‘WE’ can’t be.” She replied getting up.

“We can, Sam and we will. You don’t have to do anything. Just say a yes and I’ll handle everything else.” He said softly, catching her wrist.

Her body crashed with his when he pulled her. “I can’t do it, Neil. I just can’t. I’m not going to hurt him.”

“He will understand.”

“That he will, but I don’t. You left me stranded years ago and all along I waited for you to turn up at my doorstep confessing that my love wasn’t unrequited. But you didn’t. You were engaged in some stuff. And now I am.” She confessed.

“I was busy messing around, waiting for you to pull me up…”

“And I did, Neil. I don’t leave people stranded. That’s not me. And this time too, I won’t.”

“So this is it?” He asked resting his forehead against hers. He had known it earlier. He knew she wouldn’t concede. His eyes turned another shade of black and were moist. He was hurting inside and she was too. But this was the best for them.

“Yeah, I guess, until Adarsh realizes that he’s bored.” She joked. She knew anything like that wasn’t going to happen. Adarsh wasn’t half as bad as they thought him to be.

He smiled sadly. “I’ll wait for you, then.”

“Neil…” She gasped.

“Shh. Let me be.”

She never realized when their lips met or who inched closer. All she knew was that this was it. The kiss wasn’t passionate or heated. It wasn’t lustful either. It meant just one thing. And they both knew it, as they melted in each other’s embrace. His hands never left her waist and hers, his shoulders. He suddenly pulled back and smiled down at her. The same boyish smile which had won her heart years ago.

“Goodbye.” He said.

~~~~~~~~~

Sam was still at the river. Adarsh had called earlier, citing that it was something important he needed to discuss with her.

She was waiting for him, all the while thinking how could she meet his gaze. She had cheated him. The next day, they were getting married and here she, kissed Neil.

A car screeched and she looked at the parking.

Adarsh stepped down. His hands were sweating and he was near to having a nervous breakdown. How was he going to tell her? He didn’t want her hurt. He had hurt many people and she didn’t need to join the list.

Preparing himself, he went down, near the bank. There she was, standing all alone. As he reached nearer, he saw her tear stricken face. His concern shot up and he sped towards her.

“What happened Sam?” He asked, holding her by the shoulders.

“I’m sorry, Adarsh. I really am. I didn’t even realize….”

“Why are you crying? What are you apologising for?” He inquired bewildered. Was she going to leave him too? Had she finally realized that she couldn’t marry him?

“I know you can’t forgive me for what I did, but I swear Adarsh, I never intended for it to happen.”

His hands fell down. He staggered but calming himself, asked, “What happened Sam? Tell me, please.”

“He came here.” She said wiping her tears.

His breathing laboured. So this was it? Were they finally going their own ways? He knew she loved that guy. And he knew too that he couldn’t do anything about it. He had to let her go.

“What did he say?” He asked again.

“He said he loves me.” She replied tearing up again and hugged him.

“Then what are you doing here? Go to him.” He suggested genuinely concerned.

“I can’t Adarsh. And you know why.”

“Sam, I know and I understand it too, but I know it too that I can’t let you kill your happiness.”

“We kissed.” She spoke. He stiffened. “It was a goodbye. I told him I couldn’t do it.” She said clutching on to him harder.

He cussed internally. What was this girl made up of? She was sacrificing herself and for whom, him? He couldn’t let that happen. He would get these love birds together. For that, he had know who ‘he’ was.

“I’m sorry. I never thought of cheating you. But it just happened. If you want to cancel the wedding, I won’t say a thing.”

“Sam, think again. You love him. He loves you. What else do you need? Why are you hurting him and yourself too? Why are you backing off when you both can be together?” He asked softly.

“I kept waiting for him and he realized it when I tried to move on.”

“So this is for revenge?” He queried, flaggerbasted.

“No this isn’t. All these years of waiting got me thinking that I could be on my own. That I didn’t need him as much as I thought. That I could have a future without him. And today, when I have that, why should I let it go. God knows, he may realize two years later, that it was all an infatuation or just attraction. I won’t be strong enough to handle it, Adarsh. I can suffer this separation but not that rejection. I can’t.” She told, her fears overpowering her rationale.

He sighed. But then, a determination filled him and he asked, “So, I’m your rebound?”

“No. Whatever we have is genuine, you don’t have to question.” She immediately retorted.

“Then prove it. Kiss me.”

“I.. I..”

“See, this is what I am talking..” He stopped when he saw her closing her eyes and leaning towards him. What the hell did she want to prove? He turned his face away. Her eyes flew open when her lips came in contact with his cheek.

“You didn’t have to, Sam.” He reprimanded.

She smiled before hugging him. This guy was going to kill her with all this sweetness.

“You’re too nice for me.” She said.

“I should be saying that.”

“Nah. You didn’t even say anything when I told you that I cheated you.” She choked back the sobs threating to rise again.

“Sam, you said it was a goodbye. Then why the hell are you hurting yourself? And if I’m being too nice, do me a favour to repay.”

“Hmm.” She asked.

“Go back to him.”

“No. Please don’t talk about it.” She pleaded stepping back.

“But…”

“You wanted to talk about something.” She asked ignoring his protests.

“Sam… listen..”

“It was important. Right?” She cut him again.

He backed off. “It’s about our wedding.”

“Yeah.”

“We are gonna meet the registrar tomorrow at nine.”

Her brows shot up. Registrar. They weren’t having a court marriage. They were gonna marry the traditional way.

“Registrar? Why?” She asked.

“Someone among our relatives died a few days ago. So Mom doesn’t want a big fat traditional wedding as planned. Neither is she willing to postpone the wedding. She had asked me to tell you a week ago, but you were happy with the preparations and your family. So…”

“Alright. But what about the notice and declaration?”

“Money speaks, sweetheart.”

“I’ll tell Mom. Maybe a well off reception could suffice.” Sam suggested.

“Will you, really? Thanks a lot, Sam.”

She just smiled in return. But as a memory came up, a frown marred her face. She turned serious all of a sudden.

“Y’know, I find it weird that even though we are getting married tomorrow, the…….”

“Media doesn’t know about it. Or they are being indifferent which is highly suspicious.” He completed.

She seemed shocked. She had thought that he had something to do with it, but.

“I have been thinking this for weeks. I too don’t understand it. We have been going out for more than a month and our dates weren’t secret.”

“I thought you had to do something with it.” She bemused.

He shrugged.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She was at home. Every relative of hers had been informed about the change in plans. Almost everyone had accepted the arrangement saying that a girl’s family had to adjust accordingly. Idiotic excuses. Sam had informed Arjun and Radhika about the same and that’s why they all were sitting together, in the same room after having a heated conversation over Adarsh’s possible motive behind such a step. Arjun and Radhika hadn’t talked to each other apart from the monosyllabic hello she had forced out of their mouths.

She got up from her bed heading towards the kitchen to get something for them.

~~~

Radhika cringed seeing him. What had he done to himself? He had dark circles under his eyes. His face was dull, haggard and tired. His stubble unshaved. His hair a bit longer than usual. And his body had become leaner. Her gaze fell over his bandaged hand. Sam had gone hysteric seeing his hand. Taking him in a corner she may have scooped out the details from him. She wondered what had happened.

When he turned up to look at her, she immediately ducked her head down.

Arjun sighed as she looked down at her clasped hands. It had been hours since he was with her, under the same roof. Her silence or ignorance, whatever the f**k it was, was hurting him. She had been shocked to see him. For a moment, he felt her face lit up seeing him, but it wasn’t the case.

Now, as she was sitting in front of his very own eyes, this time for real, proving he wasn’t hallucinating, he wanted her in his arms. He wanted her to talk to him. Scold him. Fight him. He wanted to hear her blabber. He wanted to see her eyes shining mirthfully as she mocked him. Her lips upturning when she humoured him. But she wasn’t and he hated himself for that. He needed to apologise. But how was he going to? He had never been good at thanking or apologising. Etiquettes weren’t his cup of tea.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sam read the marriage papers.

” Bride’s declaration:

I, Samaira Khanna, hereby declare as follows:

1. I am, at the present time, unmarried.

2. I have completed twenty seven years of age.

3. I am not related to Adarsh Malhotra, the bridegroom, within the degrees of prohibited relationship.

4. I am aware that if any statement in this declaration is false and if in making such statement I either know or believe it to be false or do not believe it to be true, I am liable to imprisonment and also to a fine.

Signed
__________

Bridegroom’s declaration:

I, Adarsh Malhotra, hereby declare as follows:

1. I am, at the present time, unmarried.

2. I have completed twenty eight years of age.

3. I am not related to Samaira Khanna, the bride, within the degrees of prohibited relationship.

4. I am aware that if any statement in this declaration is false and if in making such statement I either know or believe it to be false or do not believe it to be true, I am liable to imprisonment and also to a fine.

Signed
__________

Signed in our presence by Samaira Khanna and Adarsh Malhotra. So far as we are aware, there is no lawful impediment to the marriage.

(Signed Witness 1)

(Signed Witness 2)

(Signed Witness 3)

(Countersigned Marriage Officer)

Dated: The Fifth day of December 2016 ”

So far everything was going smoothly but she wasn’t willing to take any risks regarding her wedding. So read the property papers next, which Adarsh’s Mom had given her asking both of them to sign it.

She read each clause carefully. According to these papers, five percent of her and Adarsh’s landholdings would be donated to ‘Ahsaas’ , an NGO working for the benefit of handicaps. They gave shelter to those who were left stranded by their own families.

“You read them?” Adarsh asked from behind. They were currently in the registrar’s office waiting for Arjun to come so that they could sign the wedding papers.

“Where are the witnesses?” The registrar asked humourlessly.

Sam straightened. “He will be coming in a few minutes.”

“I suggest you to go out and call your dear friend. We can’t keep waiting for you. There are other people too.” The office said. Sam spun out of the room dialling Ajun’s number. She had to sign those property papers too. Mom, that is Adarsh’s mom wanted both of them to start their life with a good deed.

……..

“And where’s the third witness?” The registrar asked again.

“Dad’s outside.” Adrash answered.

“Go call him.” His mom asked.

As soon as Adarsh went out of the room, the registrar took out a new set of papers from his drawer. Mrs. Malhotra handed him the others ones which he hurriedly kept inside.

“Here they are.” She smiled placing them on the table, exactly where the earlier ones were kept.

Sam barged inside saying that Arjun would be there in a minute. A few seconds later, Adarsh, his dad and Arjun entered together.

“So let’s finish this. Are the witnesses here?” The registrar asked.

“Yeah.” Sam replied.

“So, Miss Khanna and Mr. Malhotra, can you please say what you want to and sign these papers?” He asked sarcastically.

They took the vows taking each other to be his/her lawfully wedded partner. Sam then signed below her name and Adarsh did below his.

“Witnesses, please.” The officer said.

Arjun and Adarsh’s parent signed alternatively.

“Those property papers.” Mom exclaimed.

Sam smiled before getting doen to sign those papers.

“Read them first.” Arjun asked.

“I have, Mr. Bony.” She stuck her tongue out at him before signing the papers and then handed them to Adrash who signed them too without reading.

“Mr. Bony?” Arjun inquired raising his brows.

“Yeah, that’s what you look like these days. It’s like your biceps and triceps have vaporised and you are left with just your skeletal system.” She giggled stepping out of the Registrar’s office while Adarsh collected the Certificate of marriage.

………………………………………

So… this was it.
.

Myra di, this is something i would call dry and boring not yours ‘inmate’. and if u have decided wat u r gonna do, then best of luck. no dat i am with u. v all r. [do come back soon if u r going. and if u r not, then dat’s a good thing for we get our os qeen back. right]

.

Sweetie di, u remember u adviced me to give time some time, in comment section of one of the chappys of FOL, hope u didn’t mind me using it here. hope u r recovering.
.

Gauri di, if u r reading this, u r allowed to kill as u may lyk. i no i’m horrible. i didn’t cmment on married by fate nor on crossroads. [sry] but u can still kill me for that.

lemme tell u how they were.

superbly amazingly fantastically magnificially beautiful. [i guess other’s r getting jealous now. hehe]

u no i’m not flattering. cause u no, i have something else to say too. and i won’t say it here. so wait for my private msg. mayb wattpad or here.

.

Sammy, where is ur desperate silence. more importantly where r u? [do cmment if u c this]

.

Shree, how r u? i wanted to ask if u could teach me malyalam or telugu or tamil, whichever u no. i no Urdu, a li’l bit Sanskrit and Punjabi and none else. so mayb u can. [if u want to].

.

farjana, how r u doing? all fine?

.

Amitha, u tell. wat ’bout u?

.

Ritu, how r u?

.

Subha, i wanted to ask u, wat r u doing? i mean currently, studying or?

.

Roma, how r u? haven’t talked to u lyk since ages. i never reply. do i? sry for that. hope everything’s fine.
[i saw ur cmment in fol]

.

Manhu di, here’s a surprise for you. read on to know. hope u lyk it.

.

SV, god could anyone tell me who’s Sree and Sree vidya, [kidding, it took a grt amount of time for me to undertand its u.] and i never knew about ur b’day.

.

Sathya, these days, u r full on in swing, writing out different plots and posting them. keep on the good work di. [hope i can call u di, almost everyone else does. or am i elder? i’m 16 waise]

.

Anyone left? if so,then pls kill me. i can’t remember anyone now. i’m groggy and sleepy right now, so feel free to kill me if i forget u. [i’m serious. anyone who wants to kill me can, contact me and i’ll meet u]

.

so, u must be thinking wat the f**k i was doing up there, writing everyone’s name individually and asking idiotic questions.

actually i wanted to talk to u guys. i no i just sit back and don’t even reply to ur cmments, let alone cmment at ur pages. so kill me pls.

and i feel that there’s still time to redeem. so here i am. eating ur brains off.

do forgive me for being a lazy bum.

…….

i no this isn’t what you expected from the chappy, but i couldn’t write any better. so much has been going on that i find it out of my hands to write something nice and acceptable.

Guess my tenure as a writer is over.

um. dearies i have been thinking since a few days, that i need to cool down. more lyk, i have to go MIA.[as if i wasn’t earlier] i don’t no wats happening around me and trust me that’s scary. [that’s tru]

i was so busy in my imaginative world that when i snapped out of it, the reality seemed a parallel world. And that’s when i no, i can’t do it anymore. life’s messy. everyone’s is and need to sort out my mess immediately. hope u’ll understand and be supportive enough to get me out, fine and happy.

………….

Jess pi, here’s something for u…. [u thot i forgot u, very bad.]

” “f**k.” He cursed.

He had never wanted to see her so vulnerable. She was agonised. Anguished by whatever had happened and he didn’t want to see her or anyone else in that state.

For he knew what agony did. It tortured oneself so much that helplessness turned into frustration while one’s soul withered painfully. He had seen HER go through it. He had vowed to never let her be there again, yet he had failed.

But now, he won’t.

And it was not a soon-to-be-forgotten-vow. It was an oath, the one he would prefer to die fulfilling.

Aditi didn’t seem to mind his presence. She was haplessly wrestling with her anguished self. Her body, bent over her knees, resembled a foetus. She had recoiled in a foetal position thinking why did she had to go through it. The pain of losing someone was far too worse and now she was being tortured by someone she held in high esteem, be that even years ago.

Her father, Ayushman Ranyal, had been her idol, up until when she realized that he had finally lost it. His wit, morals, strength, knowledge, humanity, sanity and everything else which made him her role model. The day she had learnt that he had lost his mental health, was the day she tore up and blew apart. Till then, whenever he raised his hands on her, she had considered it his way of punishing her and consequently driving her down the right lane. But when she realized that he wasn’t punishing her but venting his anger and frustration, she had dared not retorted. For he had been there timelessly for her and it was she, who needed to repay his favours. She had tried helping him, but that only increased his fury. He was not willing to accept that a man of his significance could be mentally crippled for life. So she recoiled. Not physically but, mentally. That was the day when he lost his right of being her role model, her guardian angel. He lost the right of being her ‘Papa’. A term of endearment she had earlier decided to use for him, all her life. And now, he may be her father, her dad, her baba, or any other thing that reflected his relation with her. Unfortunately for her, he could never be her ‘papa’ for her papa had died the day he first said the words which welled her eyes and shook her soul. The day he claimed drunken, “You are not my daughter.” It was as if her world had stopped. The man she looked up to with utmost respect had abandoned her. Anything else said, would not have mattered. Calling her names or insulting her would have not have mattered. The words, ‘you are not my blood’ would not have mattered. But a simple sentence claiming she wasn’t his daughter mattered. It truly did, when he spoke with sheer helplessness, his eyes, agonised in pain, guilt and regret.

She had immediately stepped back all the while searching his eyes for a sign of compassion for her. Pity would have helped too. But there was nothing in those eyes, except for frustration, anger and helplessness. He had mocked their relation. Something she was proud to have. He had shattered all her hopes of the happy future she dreamt of, living with him in their ancestral palace, far away in their hometown. And looking after him, like a true daughter did. But he had broken the mirage she had held up to till then.

He hadn’t only murdered their relation, but himself too. He had ruthlessly murdered the man she prayed to. He had strangled her ‘God’. A man so pious as to commit any sin.

And yet she thought that there was something else too, something major, which he and her mother, Aarini had held back…”

hope you liked it. it was all i had written for the next part. i can’t write it any further. as per now.

…………….

And frnds, there’s something else too——–

~~~ Radhika sat on the king sized bed in the billionaire’s room. It was not that she was one of his flings, but now she was his wife. That’s what the white gown hugging her curves said, along with the diamond studded platinum ring on her finger. There was a small heart carved inside the diamond with the initials of her name on it i.e. ‘RM’ which signified her new name. Radhika Mehra. She wondered if all this was a dream or one of her fantasies. But being the player’s wife would be her worst nightmare ever.

Her bad luck, it wasn’t a dream. It was just real. The headlines on the tabloids, were a undeniable proof of her marriage or rather say, deal. Yeah! This marriage must be another inhumane deal of her so called father, she thought. After what he did to her mother and her at home, the only reason for her marriage to her father’s business partner seemed to be another deal of her father. Her father was a millionaire but wasn’t satisfied with what he had. He had millions of dollars to spend but he being him would not have even flinched before giving his daughter’s hand to his business partner for just another millions. She sometimes even doubted if he really was her father.

Now she was a married woman at the age of 24. And her husband was none other than the billionaire Arjun Mehra. Only the thought of him being her husband was so much hurtful, let alone the reality.

She had never liked the man who was now her husband. He was always in the magazines and paparazzi with a new woman every time. This was the most disturbing fact about him. He was a player. A man sl*t. He had his own ways of getting new women swinging in his arms.

Despite his player ways, he was a great businessman and she respected him for that. He was fair with his ways in his professional life unlike her father. But that didn’t make him much less a jackass. ~~~

this is something i am working on since months. this is very story which popped in my head after reading Farha’s ‘Drawn together’. The plot is somewhat similar to the plot she had earlier, but let’s see. and so you know, even though the whole story is in my head, i haven’t written any more than this. there’s a small prologue or intro too.

so u c, what a lazy sod i am.

………

love ya all sooooo veryyyyy much.

and sry sry sry.

………….

22 comments

  1. Brin

    |Registered Member

    Awesome episode, but please get Neil to stop this marriage, eagerly waiting for the next update. You are also an excellent writer, really enjoy reading this story. πŸ™‚

    I also write ff, I don’t know if you read them.

    • Anu-Annie

      |Author

      @Brin am so sry, i forgot to mention you. Howz life going?

      Actually Brin, Sam and Adarsh are married now. they had a court marriage. [i wrote it up there]

      and thanks for the praise. i am glad that you lyk this story. sometimes looking back, i think the plot has been childish and immature.

      yet u guys appreciate my work, thanks a ton for that.

    • Anu-Annie

      |Author

      @Brin am so sry, i forgot to mention you. How’z life going?

      Actually Brin, Sam and Adarsh are married now. they had a court marriage. [i wrote it up there]

      and thanks for the praise. i am glad that you lyk this story. sometimes looking back, i think the plot has been childish and immature.

      yet u guys appreciate my work, thanks a ton for that.

      and mayb i won’t post the next part sooner.

  2. Shree

    |Registered Member

    Anu!! hehe.. im good.. tooo ggooodd in fact.. and what about you? sorry for being a jerk…. its been a long time commenting..

    totally loving this.. update on wattpad too.. lol languages.. my telugu and malayalam are butler.. i can understand them… tamil be my mother tongue so i have no issues teaching you that.. sanskrit i chucked out after 12th.. its been a long time.. im having a hard time learning italian.. hehe..

    arjun and his etiquettes.. cant he just step down.. she married adharsh.. loved the flashback

    update the next one soon.. love you loads .. mmuuaaahh

    • Anu-Annie

      |Author

      @shree, hey u weren’t being a jerk, i was.

      u don’t need to apologise. i ‘ll update on wattpad too.

      so can teach me tamil. that’s great. we’ll start with basic words. such as greetings and congratulations and appreciations. alright?

      its great that u r learning italian. i wanted to, but couldn’t.

      and about Arjun, he is our Arjun yaar, waise bhi, i too don’t have any etiquettes or so, that’s why he doesn’t too [to accompany me]

      hope u got it. its a top secret waise.

      love ya too, next one, i’m not sure. i’m planning on hibernating this winter.

      what say?

      • Shree

        |Registered Member

        dont say u dont have etiquettes.. lets say arjun doesnt as he gets things done his way.. good that i entered business.. else it would have been hard understanding men like him

        hibernating? me too. you see we all need to free our fingers and as i have taken up business. its eating me.. hehe.. well take a break together n be back by spring.. what say?

        yep well start tamil.. tell me when free n well take of.. hehe..

        love you

    • Anu-Annie

      |Author

      @swathi thanks a lot dear, i’m an idiot to forget u guys.

      u guys type out a response and stupid me forgets to appreciate ur effoerts.

      thanky thanky

    • Anu-Annie

      |Author

      @subha so i need to call u di, alright.

      u lyked it? yippee. thanx han. it must be really tiresome working with li’l kids whose energy never seems to die off. ryt?

      thanky thanky for the prologuy. i’ll write that story later on. lemme finish these three first.

      [ i’m writing FOL, being me and that Anjana ajna love which jess pi seems to b loving for unfathomable reason]

      enough of my blabber, u tell when’s ur b’day?

    • Anu-Annie

      |Author

      @shindhu

      thanky thanky deary.

      who thought petty li’l me would get people praising her.

      waise what r u doing? profession or studies? and when’s ur b’day?

  3. Gauri

    |Registered Member

    Ok who said this was gibberish…this was just perfect and flawless….I have always loved the way you write…its unique and matured for your age…still you write this perfect 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍…don’t give up…take your time…so it when you feel like πŸ™‚ and thanks for writing this one …it stole my heart πŸ™‚ love u

    • Anu-Annie

      |Author

      @gauri

      i said this is gibberish and no one questions me. got it?

      [haha kidding.]

      di have told u na, don’t ever praise me this much. i feel shy and idiotic and many more.

      so u say, this is flawless? well, there’s a typo up there. it had to be ‘down’ and it was doen.

      see, i have flaws. everyone has but some people do their jobs so well that their flaws seem invisible and u r one of them.

      thanks for supporting. i new u would. aftwerall, u r ‘my’ di.

      aww. i stole ur heart. i’m happy.

    • Anu-Annie

      |Author

      @meen
      thanku thanku.. u no u should keep writing ‘my mafia king’ .

      i seem to love it. read all episodes in one go. and loved them all, the double dhamaka one wala too.

      keep gpoing. love ya take care.

  4. Jessie

    |Registered Member

    Heyyya doll…..Teddy hugs….Finally I read this…its late am catching this na…..This was awesome girl….boring….!! Oh I see… so you call this to be boring!! What an edition of dictionary you use girl.??!!! Well…mine…probably ours'(I mean the readers) says Fantabulous!!!!!! Adarsh…seems to be a good one…and…Neil1’s dialogues in club ..cool…Sam is so stubborn??? Nope..she is correct!! Lets see…and papers exchanged!!!! Oh No!!! Mr.bony! Lol…still Arjun you dint speak with Rads…I seee….

    Am so happy for having. A glimpse of BM here….woohoo…aaahaaa…!! So this was it…had been wondering this and that…poor Adi…

    The prologue was phenomenal.!! Man sl*t..Haa…go on!! Arjun fits all the bad boys bill…lol…lemme wait for the chap you mention abt his physique…so that I can hav my chance to pull your legs…players wife…hard!! You will make him fall for her..!! Isnt..Ah…that’s gonna be purely witty…bring on dear…hope I wrote a essay…never mind…and..and…..parallel world..it happens…well..things can’t really be really messed up,until we do it…!!! It may sound stupid…but the reality..this is…Never stop.writing!! You seem to rule here…!! Love your way of writing…!! Love you loads…TC and solve the mess you really think one to be,which I wish not to be…πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰ Gibberish!! Isn’t..!! Now come back soon..with your Ajana story too…
    stay happy…keep.smiling…..

  5. farjana

    Hi anu.. we r gg to kill u with praises n comments…. ur not a lazy sod.. u have updated lengthier fol n 2 more stories… ur seriously an amazing writer who surprises everyone by ur story different plot… now our dear sweet stubborn aam has married, with her mil changed Property papers.. its gg too intersting tt u really have to post sn
    .. As ur ardent fan,its a humble request… take care of ur studies,health n of course ur imaginative world…

  6. Roma

    Anu…my lovely sweeeeeetheart sissy. …u r awesome. ..very talented n very sweet girl….don’t be sad n feel frustrated….u r amazingly awesoooooome my sweeeeeetheart. …your every word shows how lovely of a human being you are….I missed you sooooo muchhhhh honeyyy. ….I’m very sorry for late comment….you r only 16…but trust me at this you r very mature and courageous….writing this smart n beautiful is not a piece of cake….it’s really very hard to even think of something, let alone writing at your tender age. …..my best wishes are always with you my sweeeeeetheart. ….I’m very elder than you….n I’m very happy with your talent, your imagination n your vocabulary and style of writing. …..life is not easy…for me it’s a test everyday which I have to pass somehow….my kids my family all need my attention n time….and I’m busy making their life comfortable……I forgot my ownself for them…….

    Don’t know if you will read my comment or not. …but had to tell you…that you are very brilliant n smart. ..very sharp n intelligent. …so please don’t let anything n anyone bother you…be happy always n keep writing amazing stories…explore this world with your flawless talent. …u have very long n wonderful life ahead…make it beautiful with your lovely smiles……n always think positive n be optimistic…..I’m always with you…..as a true friend n your true admirer…..whenever you have any doubt or you think you need someone to share or need any advise. ..I’m always available. …msg me here or on watty….I’m always ready to help you…I’ll try my best to make u happy. ….keep it up honeyyy. ….I love you soooooooo muchhhhhh. ..muaaaaahhhhhh. ..bear hug tight wala. ..β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘ πŸ˜‰

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