Greetings all you lovely people!! Thank you so much for all your love and support for this story! I wasn’t able to respond to all of your comments on the previous episode, but I did read each one of them, and it all means so much to me! This episode took way too long to write, because there was this one point that I kept getting stuck at. I hope I’ve made a fair job of this. Happy reading!
Twinj: Meant to be: Episode 35
A quick recap: Usha asks Twinkle to stay back, albeit her snide remark, and Manohar opens up to her, accepting her wholeheartedly. Twinkle finds some comfort in her later conversation with Kunj, but is unable to fall asleep as her bitter and painful memories return to haunt her thoughts with a vengeance.
Kunj knocked rapidly on Yuvi’s bedroom door, after his internal debate over that very action and reluctantly settling with the fact that he had no other way. It was a couple of hours past midnight when he had turned around on the bed in his sleepy state to realise that Twinkle wasn’t beside him. He had sat up suddenly, blinking rapidly to get his eyes accustomed to the pitch darkness in the room and run to check the washroom. She wasn’t there either. He knew the night had been overtly harsh to her, as if all that she had already been dealing with wasn’t enough to ruin her peace of mind. He had then desperately looked for her in all other possible locations within the mansion that he thought she might have wandered off to, all in vain. Which was precisely what had brought him here.
“Kunj?” Aditi muttered, her voice sounding worn out. Kunj’s heart let out a pang, knowing that she and Yuvi must have had an extended argument after they had retreated to their room. Before he even knew it, he was shaking his head, mumbling something about being there only to check on them. “Hold on.” She said dryly, disappearing for less than a minute before she returned with Yuvi. “I might be angry, but I’m not going to begin a cold war with you, Kunj! You are dear to me, and will always be.” Aditi said, not succeeding in putting up an unbothered expression. Yuvi coughed slowly, nudging her elbow. She sighed heavily, adding a mumbled “I’m not particularly angry with Twinkle either.” Yuvi had just smiled approvingly at her when she quickly said, “That does not mean I forgive her! All of you owe me explanations.” Yuvi rolled his eyes and turned to Kunj, immediately recognising the look in his eyes.
Aditi had agreed to cover up for Yuvi and Kunj in the eventuality that someone came looking for them, and also report if Twinkle returned home, while they headed out. Yuvi had been frightened out of his wits when Kunj had told him that Twinkle was nowhere to be found. They both knew that she was strong enough to take on the whole world all by herself but they firmly believed that she shouldn’t have to. Yuvi’s best bet was Twinkle’s old house, which she still had to herself till the end of the month. He pulled up in front of Twinkle’s cafe, realising that he didn’t really know where the house was. But Kunj did. So he jumped out of the car and was about to jog down the mud track that he knew led to the house, when he saw some movement inside the cafe.
Surprising Yuvi, he switched directions and ran to the cafe instead, pushing the doors hastily, only to find them locked. “Kunj!” Yuvi called after him, but his frustration was getting the better of him. Twinkle had even left her phone on her bedside table back at the Sarna mansion after all. He groaned, fear and anger tearing him apart when he heard a small sound from inside. Twinkle appeared on the other side of the glass doors a moment later, surprise written all over her face. She had only unlocked the door when he pushed them open and stepped in, pulling her into his tight embrace.
Twinkle stood stunned, her hands lying by her side helplessly. She looked at Yuvi over Kunj’s shoulders, and he appeared taken aback too. “Kunj?” She managed what seemed like an eternity later when he still hadn’t let go of her. Her heart was beating rapidly, and she didn’t really know how she should be feeling about it. Nobody had hugged her like that in years. She sniffled as she was reminded of Mahi and Leela’s warmth that she used to look forward to so much back in the day. It seemed to jolt Kunj out of his trance though, because he pulled away right then, his welled up eyes searching hers for answers.
Twinkle was about to spin up a story to justify her presence in the cafe at that hour of the night, when Kunj cut in, “You have no idea how worried you got all of us, disappearing just like that! Especially right after-” He trailed off, not knowing how to put the evening’s occurrences into words. “I totally understand if you only wanted some time to yourself, but we would have let you have that if you had just said so!” He rambled on, feeling the pent up worry leave him slowly. “And now you’re going to argue that you didn’t want to wake any of us up. But news flash! You don’t have to think twice before waking me up at any hour of the night, or to call me up at any hour of the day, even if it is simply because you are bored!” He said in a very matter-of-fact fashion.
They turned to look at Yuvi when they heard him chuckle. “Or you could have a left a note.” He said, trying to cover up for his laughter. “That too.” Kunj said, returning his attention to Twinkle. She lowered her eyes, uttering an apology that Kunj accepted instantly. “You aren’t alone! Ever! And I need you to know that.” He said earnestly, looking at her with so much hope that she was worried she would break it all in a flash with some stupid mistake of hers. “He means that WE need you to know that.” Yuvi quipped in again, almost as if reminding them that they weren’t all alone there, that he was there too and would appreciate if they would as much as acknowledge him.
“Yes, that.” Kunj said quickly, wondering what else he had ranted about in the worry that had begun to consume him. Had he said anything that would have made his feelings evident for her? He hoped not. He didn’t want to scare her away. He cringed at Yuvi, who quickly shook his head in a ‘You are unbelievable!’ Yuvi then stepped towards Twinkle with his usual kind smile. “You can talk to either of us if you want to. You know we won’t judge or take anything wrong.” He reminded her, just like he had been doing for so long now. The only difference was that earlier he would tell her she could speak to him, but now apparently Kunj was on the listening end too, and she didn’t seem to mind. He was glad he had introduced the two to each other.
Twinkle had kept to herself that she had left because she was feeling burdened by Usha’s parting taunt that had sounded so much like what Mr. Taneja had said to her. She had insisted that now that they knew she was safe and absolutely alright, they should return home, but they would take none of that. After a number of rounds of attempts at persuasion though, they had decided to take turns at staying around her, not intruding into her private space, but available just a call away anytime she wanted. She sighed as she watched Kunj see off Yuvi, even as the two of them carried out some hushed discussion. Knowing that she wasn’t all alone was something she wouldn’t trade for the world. But then, knowing that there were people who believed in her, in her dreams and aspirations was so much more precious. After all, this was what she had left for, and now she seemed to be getting it all back.
She wandered off into the kitchen after Kunj had come back inside and locked the door, half expecting him to follow her in there. He didn’t though, leaving her feeling both – admiration for him sticking to his words and a little disappointment for not simply walking in. ‘You so need to get things straight, Twinkle!’ She ridiculed herself before turning to the stove. She found him peering at one of her cookbooks, sitting on a corner table by himself sometime later. She giggled to herself at the look on his face – he looked like he had discovered the most unbelievable, the most confusing fact in the world. “Coffee?” She offered in almost a whisper as she sat down beside him, and placed his cup in front of him without even waiting for a response. “Thanks!” He said, his hands reaching out immediately, brushing against hers momentarily. She watched as he tore his eyes from her awkwardly, withdrawing her own hand slowly.
“Do you want to get a nap? You could go to my house if you do!” Twinkle suggested hurriedly when he yawned, already looking for her key in her shrug’s pocket. “Nope. I’m fine just here. Don’t have to go to work tomorrow – today – anyways.” He replied, correcting himself when he saw the clock on the wall. It was almost 4 in the morning. He looked at her watching him, his breath picking up. Had he overspoken again? “Did you take the day off for my sake?” She asked with a clear intention of scrutiny, and he shook his head urgently. “Why would I do that?” He asked, his voice coming off as almost a squeak in his worry that he would be caught. She nodded, mentally cursing herself for even letting such a thought enter her mind.
Twinkle had expected Kunj to get tired of waiting, bored even, and leave in a couple of hours. But he stood firm to his stand. In fact, he had even freshened up by the time she and Maya opened the doors for customers, offering to help in any way he could. She had laughed the idea off, telling him to relax instead, and enjoy his day off. He perhaps would have taken her advice and stuck to his seat, having asked Yuvi to drop off his laptop when he came along so that he would have something to do, but then a woman he was sure he had seen before entered the cafe. It was just past opening time, and the ‘initial rush’ as Twinkle called it, wasn’t even expected for another hour.
Kunj kept an eye on the lady, who definitely did not seem to hold any interest in the cafe or its menu. “May I speak to Twinkle, please?” She asked Maya when the latter offered her a place to sit and handed her the menu. Maya shot a look in Kunj’s direction but he shrugged, unaware of where this was headed. Although, given the previous day’s happenings any of his guesses wouldn’t have been too far. Twinkle walked over to the lady a few minutes later and greeted her cheerfully, as she was wont to with all her customers.
“Twinkle Taneja… or should I call you Twinkle Sarna now? You know the tactics to earn yourself fame and wealth too well now, don’t you?” The woman taunted, making Kunj stand up in shock. “I’m sorry, mam. You seem to have a very strong opinion over things that do not concern you. What you might wish to know though, is that I do not use a last name. I am Twinkle, that is right. I am the manager here, also right. Any complaint you might have regarding the food or the cafe, I’ll be more than glad to listen and do my best to sort it out. I will not, however, entertain any of the talks that you’re trying to engage me in. Would you now like to place your order?” Twinkle spoke calmly, making Kunj huff proudly. He absolutely loved that she could take a stand for herself fearlessly. Little did he know that Twinkle also drew courage from the fact that he was right there, and he would step in at any moment she wanted him to.
The woman, however, did not seem to be done yet. “How many people are you going to offer that pathetic explanation to? It’s highly unbelievable if you should know. Last night, I was shocked to find out your truth! You betrayed both families, ending up with Usha’s son wound around your fingers so that he can lead any fight for you, and you can continue to enjoy your life full of luxury!” She alleged, only to be astonished when Twinkle laughed. “Sure mam. If that’s what you want to believe in.” Twinkle said, flashing an unbothered smile at her. She felt Kunj walk over and stand behind her, strengthening her resolve wordlessly.
The woman now looked at Kunj, preparing her attack of words when he spoke, “Hello. I’m Kunj Sarna, Usha Sarna’s son. The one you think is wound around Twinkle’s fingers. It’s a shame that you found it acceptable to resort to these tactics, mam. You must know that neither of us is really bothered by what the whole world thinks or says. We know what our relationship, our marriage is constituted of, and that is actually enough. Without any of your interferences.” Twinkle turned to him and offered him a smile at that. “Now, about Twinkle’s last name. That actually doesn’t define the food or warmth you receive here, and hence is irrelevant to what I firmly believe is the purpose of your visit – a good cup of coffee and some food. Perhaps you’ll end up so impressed that you’ll bring your friends next time around, and maybe give her a bigger order for one of your parties. We do hope you shall truly enjoy your experience here.” He continued with an exact replica of the smile Twinkle had on, leaving the woman so boggled that she returned a smile and walked out fast, not even daring to look back.
“You two are simply perfect for each other!” Maya interjected, making Twinkle and Kunj turn around, crashing into each other, and just as if by intuition, Kunj’s arms held her steadily. She did not hasten to pull away though, surprising them both. He watched her intently, the cool breeze causing her hair to flutter freely, just as his heart was. “Excuse me.” She said right then, clearing her throat and freeing herself, walking away. Kunj smiled sadly to himself, reminding himself that he was in love, she wasn’t. And he would have to keep himself in check. Even if it broke his heart.
That’s all for now, guys! The next one is under works and is going to bring in some high-voltage drama. Are you all ready? Let me know what you thought about this one in the meanwhile. Much love!!