The sound of Ruhi woke him up.
He dreaded the fact that what he just though wasn’t reality but just a dream…..
He hated the fact that fate always dealt him a bad hand …..
Just maybe she isn’t the same as Shagun…..
She is definitely not like Shagun …….he corrected himself.
She looked like an angel, peaceful in so far away at that moment Ishita felt someone stare at her and she open her eyes to a bemused Raman.
Ruhi’s snapped her fingers in frustration for her father ignoring her and planted a kiss on his cheek.
Oh Morning my little princess, he greeted her and kissed her forehead.
Morning Ishima, Ruhi said and gave Ishita a big hug and a kiss.
Morning Raman …
That was the extent of the conversation that the two had, after yesterday’s cuddle debacle.
Come Ruhi let’s get you ready for school Ishita said and hurriedly got up and took Ruhi to her room.
Raman got up and got ready for work as he knew it was going to be a hectic day.
When Ishita came to her room to get ready Raman was already dressed and heading to the kitchen to have breakfast.
Her first appointment was only at 10 and she had ample time to get ready today.
She glanced over to her phone on the night stand.
Morning Dr Bhalla, Please don’t forget about the staff meeting at 10 am today.
After getting out of the bathroom she went to have breakfast and left for work.
She didn’t have to take Ruhi to school because Mr Bhalla already took her to school; he had some business that side of town.
Ishita stepped out the meeting and mentally prepared herself for the day.
Long-time no see,Ishu.
Are you free I’m in town for the weekend and hope we can meet up somewhere to catch up.
God, Mani .It seems like forever .Sure sounds great.
Just let me know when.
Ishita suddenly had a new lease on life her childhood friend Mani came to visit.
She had so many things to tell him.
Her day swiftly went by in no time and by 2 she was already done with her appointments she only had to do minor paperwork.
Ishita went her normal afternoon routine, phoning home and acquire about shopping…then
Going to the market …… picking up Ruhi
And finally popping it at Amma’s for her daily visit.
She has grown quite use to it and the relationship with the family also have gotten a lot better than at the beginning.
She was excited to meet Mani after he moved to Europe she met him twice.
While sitting and enjoying some coffee she told her mom about her day… when they heard a knock at the door.
Ishita turned around to find a dashing Mani standing in the door with a bouquet of flowers.
Amma walked over to him and he bent down to take blessing from Amma and she gave him a hug.
Mihika gave Amma’s address and I just wanted to come say” Hi”.
He said while Amma escorted him inside.
(Iyer flat’s balcony)
Mani and Ishita talked like never before, she told him about her marriage and her Ruhi.
He told her about his business and the probability to expand to the Asian market especially India.
Are you happy Ishu?, his question was laced with concern.
She was caught a bit off guard by the question.
Yes, of course I am she answered him.
Ishu you can’t just get married for the sake of someone child, he said.
I love Ruhi like my own, Mani. You of all people know how much I love children and you know with my medical problem, I can never bear my own so I thought why not settle for the next best thing.
She explained herself not leaving any details out.
And her mother, he inquired.
You said…………………… Raman, is it?
Yes, she replied.
He is divorced……………..
Yes, she said looking at him pensively as to make out where this line of questioning is going.
How does this, Situation work Ishu? He finally ended his bombardment of questions.
Well she is not in the picture …..
It’s a long story and please don’t spoil your visit with all these questions.
He took a sip of coffee when Ishita broke the awkward silence.
So Mani, Ishita said cunningly with a hint of a smirk on her face.
When are you getting married?
Last I heard you were dating or something…….
It didn’t work out he said with a clear sadness coming over his face.
She wasn’t like……..he started to say when they were interrupted by a very annoyed Raman clearing his throat.
Ishita looked over to see an irritated Raman leaning against the balcony door.
And who might this be he, asked with a raised eyebrow.
Raman, this is my childhood friend Mani, Ishita said standing up and walking over to him.
Raman sat on her seat and she went to sit next to Mani.
When did you get home Raman, she asked?
Well, Ishita it’s already past 7 and when I usually get home you are there.
Imagine my amusement when Mamiji said you still haven’t come back from you mother’s, he said his voice now stern with a curious look on his face.
Well Ishita, I think that my cue to go, Mani said.
I missed our chats so much and out of habit gave Mani a long hug.
Mani offered his hand to Raman to greet but Raman just walked off in disgust.
What wrong with this Raavan Bhalla she thought, so rude.
(Raman and Ishita’s Room)
Raman was furious …thinking of the way….
Ishita just hugged this……… this ……………………Mani guy.
His hand on her body …touching his wife.
The way she looked at him……and smiled when he spoke while casually touching his hand.
He poured himself a drink from his stash in his night stand drawer
He so needed it and walked out to the balcony looking into the night sky for answers.
Ishita went straight to the cupboard to get her night clothes and stormed past him to the bathroom.
The situation between them reached breaking point.
The tension in the air was insufferable causing Ishita to give in first.
Raman, she came behind him.
He kept staring ahead taking another sip.
Why were you so rude to Mani? He is my best friend and helped me through……………..
He knew the part that was going to follow…
The whole thing with Subhu and……………..her voice became softer.
I don’t care if he is your friend a disgruntled Raman replied.
When did it become acceptable to hug a man other than your husband……
His words resonated in her ear.
Is he your lover?
A teary eyed Ishita was at a loss for words….
My ………. L O V E R?
No, it’s not what you think, she tried to explain.
He is just a friend and nothing more, like jiju.
The questions only made her angry.
Why is it fine for you to hug in public……
And when I do it, it’s wrong; she said expressing her annoyance towards him by turning him around.
Looking attentively into Ishita’s eyes, he saw the hurt that was obvious radiating from it.
She is just a college friend.
She is married for God’s sake.
I haven’t seen her in years and we met only today.
We have been friends since school and all through college.
Mani is also a school friend what makes her different, she declared.
He turned holding onto the railing looking away.
I’m sorry; Ishita.I didn’t know that bothered you so much.
I’m sorry too; I should have taken your feelings into consideration she said softly.
You know he is just a friend, more like a brother.
I know Raman replied.
I just can’t stand it when other men touch you.
His voice burned with possessiveness.
She was shocked at his admission.
Their eyes met and she knew he was serious.
He moved close to her, leaning in, he touched her cheek with his index finger and gently stroking it.
She almost melted from the intensity, while blushing profusely.
You are mine…..
His voice became hoarse.
All she could hear was her heart beating….
He tilted his head and softly capturing her lips.
It lasted just few second but for them in that moment, it felt like forever.
Credit to: Monique