Hey, you all! I’ve been slightly demotivated to write, lately, with some work popping up in between. But I’d also appreciate it, if you all could be more expressive and let me know of your thoughts. The response is a little depressing, especially considering the amount of time and effort that goes into writing this fiction. I think, every creativity deserves some appreciation, and I’d really be grateful, if you all could let me know your thoughts more often. To everyone who has been commenting and supporting, thank you so much! Here’s the next episode – the tenth episode, Yay; Happy Reading!
PREVIOUSLY, Kunj meets and bonds with Aarohi.
EK TUKDA PYAAR – EPISODE 10
For most of the rest of the week, Twinkle had been cooped up within the four walls of her cabin. It had been an extremely busy week and she could barely recollect her life outside the office. She hadn’t had time to spend with Aarohi after Kunj had left the other day, and guilt had gnawed at her soul. She wanted to be able to spend more time with her daughter before she broke the news to her, but each day, she had been returning home after her mother had tucked Aarohi to bed. She was grateful, though, the upcoming week only involved client meetings and even if they carried on later at night, she could receive them from home.
“What is it that you’re thinking so hard?”
Twinkle (shaking her head): It’s nothing. I’m just trying not to think of the day, anymore; Yuvraj has a very short temper, and it can be very troublesome to handle, you know.
Kunj (looking down at Twinkle’s intertwined hands): You’ve told that a couple of times. But I don’t see how hurting yourself would be of any help.
Twinkle looked down at her clasped hands and unlaced the fingers. Her nails had been jabbing into her palms, but she hadn’t felt the pain due to her nervousness. Earlier in the week, she had decided to introduce Yuvraj and Kunj to each other and she’d dropped the two of them a simple message mentioning the same. It had seemed extremely simple, initially. But as she sat in her empty studio apartment – which was put up for rent on several brokerage websites – she begun cursing herself for the decision. It did not seem that simple, anymore. In fact, it felt very complicated now, and she wished, she could dismiss this idea and avoid the inevitable.
Kunj brushed his fingers along her finger-tips, trying to create a distance between the fingers. She looked down at him and laughed softly, trying to ignore the warmth that coursed through her.
Twinkle (pulling her hand away): What are you doing?
Kunj (looking up at her): Are you that scared?
Twinkle (in a thoughtful voice): Scared wouldn’t be the right thing to say, but I’m most definitely, a little apprehensive and nervous. I doubt, it’ll be as smooth as I want it to be. After all, not everything can turn out to be in my favour, Can it? What do you think?
Kunj (in the same thoughtful tone): I, genuinely, think (he paused and looked at her, stifling a smile) you should stop over-using that brain of yours. (he jabbed her forehead) It overthinks more than it needs to.
Twinkle frowned, trying to convey her annoyance. She didn’t like how he had made a sarcastic remark while they were having a serious conversation. She wasn’t a good-humoured person, anyway, and she couldn’t deal with sarcasm in serious situations.
Twinkle: Kunj, …
But she stopped mid-way when she heard the door-lock click and saw the front door opening. She had forgotten about the set of keys Yuvraj possessed, that she had never asked him to return. She cursed herself, mentally, and gripped the edge of the table for sanity. She could sense Kunj’s questioning gaze alternate between her and Yuvraj, but she decided to ignore it; She wasn’t sure if she could handle those questions now.
Kunj (forwarding his hand across the table): Hello, I’m Kunj – Kunj Sarna.
Yuvraj (shaking his hand and nodding): Yuvraj Luthra.
The three of them settled down in silence around the circumference of the table. Twinkle held her silence and looked at the two of them. She felt the dread flooding within her and she laced her fingers, again. She looked down at her hands and noticed the whitening of the knuckles. In that moment, she wished for nothing besides wanting to run away.
Twinkle (a minute later): Kunj, this is Yuvraj. And Yuvraj, this is Kunj.
Yuvraj: Yes, Twinkle. I thought, we already got that cleared for ourselves.
Twinkle: Of course. (pausing briefly) Did you not have any work at office today?
Yuvraj: Nothing, as such. I was, anyway, headed this way. I’d some paperwork to be done, and I needed some help.
Twinkle nodded and looked down at her phone. She figured, it was a bad idea and mentally, assassinated herself. She needn’t have had made this so awkward. It wasn’t as if her decision relied on Yuvraj’s affirmation. She’d already firmed her final decision, but she needed his help to convince Aarohi. And she needed to muster the courage to talk about this; She was very well-aware of its inevitability and if she tried delaying it, things might turn out to be uglier.
Twinkle: Kunj and I had been talking the other day, and we figured, that we’d need your help to talk to Aarohi.
Yuvraj (sitting up straight): My help? How, exactly?
Twinkle: So, she needs to be convinced that this is what the two of us want. As in, you and me. Rather, Kunj thinks it’d be better if only the two of us talk to her.
Kunj: Yes, I think that’d be the better way out. (looking at Yuvraj) Since she really loves both of you, I don’t think I should be intruding.
Yuvraj: Of course, you shouldn’t. Especially considering, she is OUR daughter. But (pausing and looking at Twinkle) convince her of an idea, even I’m not convinced of yet? I don’t think so.
Twinkle (taken-aback): Weren’t you the one who told me, you’d want to support me? I didn’t ask it of you. Quite obviously, I’d be happy if you support me, but I never forced you to come and talk to me the other day. In fact, I was simply ignoring you, because of our differences in our opinions.
Yuvraj: I did. But I didn’t think you were in such hurry to get married. (staring at Kunj) How much do you even know him?
Twinkle: I don’t think that is the main concern here. Aarohi should be, and is the main concern here; and she’s the one we’re talking of.
Yuvraj (in a frustrated voice): She, definitely, is. But, in my honest opinion, you should take time to understand and know him. I don’t think, Aarohi would be able to bear if the two of you get divorced, too.
Kunj: That, really, is second…
Twinkle (interrupting): That would be our personal matter, you needn’t worry of it. The three of us are here just to discuss about Aarohi and that’s what we’d limit ourselves to.
Yuvraj: You remember, when we’d gotten married, both our families were in such hurry and we never got to know each other, personally? And look at where we are today.
Twinkle (exasperation lacing her voice): I think, I’ve grown up from then, and so have you. I think, all of us are mature enough to understand what’d be better for us now.
Yuvraj (sighing): I don’t know how you’re taking this so, casually. (pausing for a long minute; looking at Kunj) Have you met Aarohi?
Kunj (smiling): I did. She is a great company for an eight-year-old.
Yuvraj (in an unbelievable tone): You introduced Aarohi to him, before I met him? And you didn’t even bother telling me; Wow!
Twinkle (folding her arms on the table-top): I didn’t think, I needed your approval for that. Not like, it would’ve mattered, anyway. I discussed it with Maa, and she felt it was the right thing to do, too, so we invited Kunj for dinner the other day. And since, this is about my daughter, I don’t see how prioritising her seems wrong.
Yuvraj (in a frustrated voice): Really, Twinkle? And isn’t she my daughter?
Twinkle: I told you the other day, too, that Kunj would never take your place in Aarohi’s life. You will be Aarohi’s Papa, whatsoever. You needn’t feel that insecure. (pausing and looking at Kunj) And I don’t think, I need you to tell me if I can introduce Kunj to Aarohi. If I didn’t trust him enough, I would’ve never introduced them.
Twinkle caught the slight hint of smile that lingered on Kunj’s lips, and smiled at him in return. She knew Kunj was harmless and she trusted him. She had figured, he might’ve had a past that bothered him which he didn’t want to talk about. But she was certain, she’d be able to share his sorrows and demons with him some day in the future.
Kunj: Look, I think, we should really focus on how to convince Aarohi. I don’t think, we’re heading anywhere with this conversation.
Yuvraj (staring at Twinkle): Do you not see how desperate he is to marry you? And you still think he’d be a good guardian.
Twinkle (in a fiercely loud voice): Shut up, Yuvraj! From the time you’ve entered, I’ve been seeing the way you’re talking with him – or about him. What is it with that venomous voice?
Yuvraj (drumming his fingers): I don’t want you to remarry. Just move in with me into a sham marriage, and we shall look after Aarohi together.
Twinkle (controlling her fury): I’ve told you, nothing of that sort will happen. Stop bringing it up each damn time we talk. And did you not say, you wouldn’t broach that topic anymore? What’s changed then?
Yuvraj: I’ve talked to Mom, and she, too, thinks Aarohi wouldn’t be able to adjust. I don’t want my daughter to be in that situation.
Twinkle: Of course, you have. How can I forget how much Mom despises me! But for your kind information, that’s the sole reason we want to talk and convince Aarohi. All of us know it isn’t going to be easy for her, but she needs to understand her parents don’t have anything left between them. And I think, she’s quite grown up for that.
Yuvraj (in a defensive voice): Mom’s telling this, because she loves her granddaughter. Aarohi’s happiness is much more important to her.
Kunj (trying to calm down the tension): Look, things really don’t have to be this way. We can…
Yuvraj (glaring at him): Stop speaking in between our personal matters. I don’t get it why you’re still here.
Twinkle: You’re right. (Yuvraj looked at Twinkle and smiled) Just get out of here, Yuvraj!
Yuvraj (scrunching his brows in incredulity): What?
Twinkle: Yes! Just get out of here. We will talk to you some other day, when Mom wouldn’t have had brainwashed you, and you’d be in your sanity.
Yuvraj (looking at Kunj, furiously): Mom isn’t brainwashing me. But he, for sure, is brainwa-
Twinkle (pushing the chair and standing): That’s enough, Yuvraj! Just because he’s trying to be nice and genuine, doesn’t mean you’d just go on talking b*llsh*t about him. He has his own self-respect, and if he isn’t owing up to claim that, it is only because, he’s mature enough. That, in no way, implies that you can go on disrespecting him.
Yuvraj (staring at her furiously): You’re asking me to leave because of some person you’ve met, what, a few weeks ago?
Twinkle: Yes. Now, Get Out.
Yuvraj (standing up): You’re going to regret this, Twinkle. You aren’t making the correct decision.
Twinkle (in a warning tone): GET. OUT.
Yuvraj glanced at the two of them once more and turned around to walk away. Twinkle stared at his retreating figure with a fierce intensity in her eyes and cursed him under her breath.
Twinkle (shouting): Leave the keys on the foyer unit before you leave.
She could’ve sworn she had noticed Yuvraj pause and flinch briefly, but he had covered up, quickly and easily, and strode out. Seconds later, she heard the clinking of the keys when they were slammed on the surface with a fierce intensity. When she heard the door slam, she fell down on the chair behind her, and closed her eyes. She had grown tired of this conversation, and she didn’t know, for how long could she bear it, anymore. Yuvraj was testing and exhausting her patience with each passing day.
Kunj: That was … intense. I just saw how great of a lawyer you are.
Twinkle (opening her eyes and shaking her head): I’m sorry, you’d to see that. That’s, usually, how our conversations end. Yuvraj has a very short temper.
Kunj (in a careful, soft voice): You do, too. Do you realise that?
Twinkle (nodding her head): Maa keeps telling me, but I can’t help it. I’m very impatient, and Yuvraj keeps repeating the same thing over and over again. I’ve told him several times; I don’t want to move in with him. And he’s already told me, there’d be no true meaning to the marriage, which is quite obvious, though. Neither of us envision a future together, you know?
Kunj: Have you ever tried telling him why you don’t want to move in with him? May be, he doesn’t even understand. You should point out the problems from Aarohi’s perspective.
Twinkle (turning around to look at him): And you think that’d help?
Kunj (smiling): I’m certain.
Twinkle noticed the soft streaks of the setting sun highlight his jawline, and she stared at him. The faded freckles on his skin added to his handsomeness, and the black colour accentuated his skin colour.
Twinkle (sitting up straight): Why did you not stand up for your own self? Yuvraj was being quite rude.
Kunj (smiling, and staring afar): He doesn’t really know me, does he? If every random person’s remark begins to bother me, I will have nothing else to do then.
Twinkle: So, you’d let anyone disrespect you?
Kunj turned around and looked into her eyes. Twinkle observed the charcoal freckles in his eyes – which looked tainted with the sunlight, now – and her breath stuttered. She couldn’t ignore how gorgeous Kunj truly was.
Kunj (smiling): As long as I have you around me, I don’t think, you’d let anyone disrespect me.
A wave of heat rushed within Twinkle and a small smile lingered on her lips. She looked down, befuddling for words. The spark between them embraced her tightly, and she couldn’t ignore how her muscles clenched and a warmth of congeniality and speciality retained within her.
That’s all for this episode, let me know your thoughts. A little more patience and we’re heading toward a very, very positive character sketch of Yuvraj. Thank you!