Joined: 12 January 2008
Prachi glanced around her. the scenery on the high mountain pass was awesomely bleak and beautiful blending the pearly grey light of an early September evening. For the first few miles , she drove straight on the deserted road. After a visit to her grandmother, she had taken a lonely road rather than the main road as she wanted to enjoy the peace of the surrounding wild. She likes being at the edge of everything. But this time, it wasn't just for the excitement, she was solely upset after the brief visit to her grandmother's home. she almost wished that she haven't gone there and hear out the taunting words of her grandmother and her aunt on rejecting every single groom they select for her. she knew that she was doing wrong in waiting for someone who was clearly nothing but an imagination.
The arguments as always got heated up and ended up with her grandmother's bp shooting up high. She was left with another guilt. She wished everyone would just leave her alone.
She pressed on the radio and as soon as the music hit her ears, the tension began to ease down from her body.
Oceans apart day after day
And I slowly go insane
I hear your voice on the line
But it doesn't stop the pain
If I see you next to never
How can we say forever
Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
When she heard the song, her mind reeled back to the time when she went to Goa with her parents ten years ago. There she saw him. his face was still fresh on her minds. That time, was too shy to speak anything to him and knew that it was truly love at first sight. She sighed dreamly thinking about him. though it has been just ten years, she has been following him through media. It was though destiny wanted her to see him and hear him and she was always grateful for that. she would see him often on the covers of business magazines and newspapers, and she would spend hours and hours spinning her own fairy tale with him. but later on, as she grew up, she began to feel how silly she has turned out to be. Running after a dream to which she can never achieve. But it was too late to come out of it, she was far too much in love with him to let go. 'how I wish I never saw him' she thought as a lone tear escaped her eyes.
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you''..
A sudden burst of tires and thumping judder made her come out of her reverie with shock. With her heart in her mouth, she dragged the wheel to the side of the road. With shaking legs, she got out of the car to find that both of the front tires have burst. Groaning, she looked around thinking that she might get help. But that was not going to happen as there was not even a single living soul around. The place was deadly quiet except for the screeching of birds that was heard much far away. Thinking that staying would not help as it was getting dark and she could not afford to stay alone in the midst of the deserted road. Sighing, she opened the boot, lifting the inner cover, she took out a jack, a spare wheel, the wheel brace and a foot pump. So far, she had never been forced to change a wheel . when her father brought her first car, he insisted on learning how to change a wheel. Now she was grateful for that but only it wasn't as easy as she thought that it would be.
She was struggling to put the wheel in when it suddenly started raining. The rain droplets hit her like swords and it got even more for her to fix her tire. groaning in frustration, she tried once more.
As she kept on struggling, miraculously headlight's appeared behind her. and a moment later an black compressor came to a halt just a few yards away. Prachi immediately straightened and thank god for sending her help when she needed the most. She saw a tall well-built man step out with an umbrella.
She shielded her eyes with her hands as she was dazzled by the lights. Though his back was to the headlights and face was in shadow, there seem to be something oddly familiar about him. she was completely drenched and was almost chattering her teeth.
"Need some help?" he asked. His voice was familiar too. Just like his. Her thoughts wandered again but immediately shook her head to brush off the thoughts and to concentrate on the problem that laid in front of her.
"Please" she said gratefully. The rain was pouring on heavily. He handed her the umbrella and she took it with trembling hands. He kneeled down and proceeded on changing the tire. She watched his broad back which was getting drenched with the less off shield she was giving to him. after checking the pressure on the tire, he stowed equipments back in the boot and closed it. All the while, Prachi following him with the umbrella. "there, its done" he said.
"Thank you so much, I cant tell you how grateful I am" She watched as he took out a damp handkerchief out of his leather coat pocket and wiping his hands, he turned towards his own car and said easily. "Its, no problem, I'm glad I have been a sort of help to you"
As the headlights shone fully on him, for the first time, she saw his face fully, it was the same face that has haunted her for the past ten years. She stood rooted on the spot trying hard to wake up from the dream. It cant be him. its too much of a coincidence! She took a step back as her eyes widened even more. he was now, fully drenched and he watched her as if she has gone insane. Raking a hand over his wet hair, he asked. "Are you okay?" Prachi immediately composed herself and nodding her head vigorously she handed him his umbrella which was almost of no use as both of them were completely drenched. "Thank you once again, I should be going now" she said heading towards her car as quickly as she can. She wanted to get away from there as fast as she can. Away from him. she didn't know why she was running away, but for the time being, she knew that she has to go. But before she could pass by him he held her hands. "Woah where are you going?"
"back home" she replied drawing her hands back from his hold.
"Where exactly?" He stepped in closer to her and she shivered.
"Mumbai" Prachi stammered.
"Are you crazy? You are going back to Mumbai with the heavy rains?" he asked shocked.
Prachi bent her head down without answering and he tugged her by her arm and directed her to his car. At first she had no idea what was happening and it was only then she realized that he was taking her along. Immediately she shrugged him off and stared at him angrily. "Look mister, I appreciate your help but its my concern that I go back home or not" she snapped at him.
"look, I don't want to start any argument in the middle of the road, i am heading to Mumbai myself and it would be better if you get in before I pick you up and go and too bad, there is no one to help you when you scream for help also and this, I mean it." he said in a slow but threatening tone. Prachi's eyes only widened even more and shook like a leaf. From what she knew, he was a type of guy who would do anything of what he wanted. And when he mean it, he meant it.
"I'll go get my bags" she said blankly before opening the passenger seat and taking her luggage bag and other necessary items. After locking the door, she walked up to him where he waited patiently with a smug smile on his face.
While they drove their way to find a place to stay for the night, Prachi wrapped her arms around her as she began to get colder. Her heart began to beat faster as she studied his profile in the glow from the dashboard.
His nose blunt, his hair slicked back and still wet, his skin still showing tracing of moisture. His small stubble and had a faint dent which would have looked like a dimple if he smiled'
"You think I'm trustworthy?" he asked her making her turn away hastily as she blushed deeply. His words and voice held a hint of amusement. Never in her life heard anything so mesmerizing. Though she has heard him giving interviews, it felt so different from the media and hearing like from person. Prachi began to shiver even more when Milind turned his head for a fraction of second and observed her from head to toe.
"You cold?" he asked turning on the heater. Mumbling a quick thank you, Prachi began to rub her hands. She was nervous more than being cold due to rain. Never in her life she thought that she would come across such circumstance where fate would bring her in front of him. unable to stand the silence, Prachi made an attempt to talk.
"Are you here on business?"
"You could stay that" he replied wryly. Prachi made no further attempt to talk and instead shifted her focus on the road trying to see if she too could help him out in locating a place.
"Here we are" he announced halting near a cottage which was almost pitch black except for the faint glimmer of candle that was lit at the very far end of the cottage.
As it was still raining, he pulled open the umbrella and came round to help her out, and an arm around her waist, steered her towards the dark bulk of the cottage.
Just as casual his touch was, it sent her nerves throbbing and tingling out of her breath. His very single touch made her hot under the cold clothing and the very instant it made her to feel warm.
When they reached the cottage door, Milind stepped forward and knocked on the door and it opened almost immediately and an elderly man stepped out almost startled.
"I'm sorry to disturb you at the moment but can we spend the night here?" Milind asked.
"The cottage is close, you'll have to go somewhere else" he said trying closing the door but Milind held the door and stopped it.
"I'm sorry its not possible, its dark and raining too heavily"
"the cottage is closed" he repeated but Milind again held the door and stepped in and whispered something to him. Prachi moved forward to hear out what it was when the elderly man smiled and held open the door for them to get it.
"please come in, but you'll have to use an old room. It's the only room we have for now, the bed is not made up, no electricity'"
"Its no problem, we can manage" Milind said smiling sweetly at Prachi and putting an arm around her. it made Prachi's stomach go flip flop and she tried to push him away but he held her close. The eldely man directed them to a room which was at the very end of the cottage. At the short end of the corridor, he opened and flashed the torch inside a good-sized furnished bedroom. He flashed his torch around showing them the medium sized bed and a bucket full of logs and a neatly tiled bathroom. The inside air was cooler than outside and Prachi again shivered as the chill touched her skin.
"This will do fine" Milind commented. "A couple of sheets, pillows and candle or two are all we need"
"I'll send some soon" he said and left the room leaving them in complete darkness. Milind was still holding her close and after a moment, he removed his hands around her and said, "Stay here while I locate the matches"
Prachi waited when she heard the footsteps of Milind retreating back and forth. A moment later she heard some pots and pans being moved. Then there was the sound of the match scratch making the room to glow. He came back just in time as the elderly man returned with sheets, pillows and an oil-lamp.
After giving the necessary items, Milind began to set up the fire place while Prachi arranged the sleeping area. As they were still drenched, the elderly man brought them fresh clothes. Thanking them with gratitude he left bidding them good night.
"I have clothes, why don't you go and change?" Prachi asked as her teeth chattered. Milind laughed aloud seeing her and said.
"Why don't you go and change first? I'll go after"
Prachi blushed more deep and then grabbing her bag, she hastily walked into the bathroom and closed the door behind her.
Milind lit the small fireplace lighting the room with a perfect golden glow. Golden which was almost intimate. Prachi came out wearing a white saree which was the only garment she carried. Prachi came out of the bathroom after a while drying her hair with the towel, she stopped as she saw Milind sitting near the fireplace watching her. Their gaze met and held. It was magic. Prachi knew that however she tried, she could not deny that what she feel for him was love. A shiver ran down her spine as she realized that it whatever the feeling was only one sided. The fact that he don't know her and do not love her made her heart ache. She averted her gaze as tears stung in her eyes.
Milind watched her transfixed as she came out after changing into dry clothes. She looked more like an angel to him. As she averted her gaze, the spell broke and he went to change himself into dry clothes given by the caretaker of the cottage.
Prachi sat on the low arm chair near the fire place rubbing her hands as she was still cold. Somehow, she started thinking about why the caretaker all of a sudden agreed to let them stay after refusing for long, she wondered what might have milind told him that he has agreed instantly. When Milind came out wearing the kurtha the caretaker gave, Prachi couldn't let her gaze tear away from him. he looked even more handsome in traditional clothing and it occurred to her that it was the first time that she was seeing him in such as though she has usually seen him in suits and casual wears in his interviews.
Milind cleared his throat making Prachi to look away in haste as she realized that she has been caught yet again. color flamed her cheeks yet again and she began to fiddle the end of her pallu as nervousness began to rise her spine.
"What did you say to the caretaker that he instantly agreed to let us stay for the night?" Prachi asked as she couldn't hold it much longer.
"nothing, I just told him that you are my wife and pregnant that's all" he said coolly sitting down on the bed dying his hair with the towel.
"You said what?!" Prachi asked getting up. She almost shouted the question at him. he watchd her with the same smug smile he gave to her previously.
"I told him you are my wife and is pregnant" he repeated with amusement.
"this is not funny Milind, why did you lie to him?" She asked angrily as he was finding it funny when actually he had no idea what might the small lie lead to. 'what will it lead to?' she asked herself. And she has no idea.
"there is no other way and by the way, how did you know my name?" Milind asked surprised. Prachi bit her lower lip. she tried hard to make sure that she didn't know him but with anger, her tounge has slipped his name. she wished she known how to be in control when in anger. She tried to think of an excuse but as she saw him watch her with a brow raised, she thought that there was no point in hiding the fact that she didn't know him.
"I saw your interview" She replied. It was though the half truth but was not a lie either. Thinking that it was best not to say anything further, she turned to her back and went back to sit near the fireplace.
Milind rose up from the bed and went to sit beside her. he sat near the floor and began to rub his hands to make them warm as his hands were almost numb. Prachi tried hard to be in conscious as she knew that she would completely lose herself if she look at his direction. she turned her head away but felt his gaze piecing in her. she felt nervous and began to tremble. After a long silence, Prachi felt that it was best to start a conversation than the silent torture at least it will keep them both occupied. For her she wanted to talk about something to distract the growing attraction to him which was almost on the verge of losing with him by her side.
"So tell me, why are you exactly here?" Prachi asked finally and he turned to her and smiled.
"actually, there was this damsel in distress" and Prachi began to giggle when he went on. "she has a flat tire and I being the perfect gentlemen , fixed her tire and brought her to here so that she could spend a warm night instead of soaking wet in the rain"
"well thank you for that" Prachi said giggling her way. She never thought that he would have such sense of humor.
"I'm honored" he bowed down slightly making prachi to laugh even more. they sat and talked about almost everything and nothing. They were like long lost friends. it didn't feel like that they were strangers at all. Milind too found it easy to talk to her as she listened to him carefully and then gave good advice out of it. He has shared some of his business plans and she keenly suggested what would be the best. After sometime, they sat back watching the burning logs lost in thoughts.
"What are you thinking?" Milind asked. Prachi without looking at him sighed and answered.
"I'm thinking how much we have shared just now, isn't it funny? We are just strangers and yet we have so much in common"
"Yeah" he agreed. "I don't know about you, but why do I feel like that I have seen you before?" He asked making Prachi to jerk back. she didn't thought that he would find out that she was the silly teenager who kept staring at him like a love sick puppy ten years ago.
"I don't know what'"
"I feel as if I have known you all my life" he went on as her breathing became erratic. He reached and ran a fingertip down the curve of her cheek sending all her nerves crying out. Prachi moved away from his touch and he withdrew his hands back. Prachi got up and went near the window breathing heavily. Milind came by her side and turned her around, lifting her chin with his thumb, he caressed her cheeks making her to close her eyes lost in the sensation. His touch was seductive to the core and Prachi wished that she never wake up from this dream. Cupping her face, he kissed her temple, making Prachi to snap open her eyes and realized that it wasn't a dream after all.
"perhaps it was in my dreams that I have kissed you, held you close and made love to you" he said gazing deeply into her eyes. he traced her lips.
"that was the first thing that came into my mind after I saw you completely drenched out there, how it will be like to kiss these soft lips" he added softly leaning forward and taking her lips in his. The kiss was nothing she has imagined. It has everything, the excitement, the comfort and the sheer joy of belonging. She was so caught up with the spell he has caste on her that she kissed him back with equal passion. When he kissed her, she could feel his hands running over the slender curves of her body and she leaned onto him moaning softly. After a long time, she scooped her in his arms and led her into the bed. he undressed her and then slipped off from his own clothes before laying beside her. while he undressed, he saw that her eyes were closed and her face almost red with the excessive blushing. It only made his senses loosen. Nothing registered in his mind except for the fact that he wanted her like he wanted no one in his life.
Prachi wanted nothing more than being his as she loved him deeply. Way too much to say it with words. She gave himself to her body and soul. He was strong masterful passionate yet those qualities went hand in hand with skill and caring, a never-ending kindness. They reached the zenith together and touched the starts before falling back slowly. he gathered her in his arms as she snuggled in closer to him and slipped into a blissful sleep saying a silent prayer of thanks as she has finally got the love she was waiting from and from the person she has waited all her life.
When Prachi woke up the next morning, she couldn't stop herself from smiling as the memories of previous night came back to her. Her heart was fill with love and gladness and sighing deeply she reached out to touch him. Her eyes flew open as she felt that the space beside her was cold and empty. She got up from the bed and covering herself with the duvet, she went to the washroom and knocked on the door thinking that he might be in.
"Milind are you there?" Prachi called out and hearing no answer, she went to pick up her clothes which was discarded near the bed. She noticed that though her clothes was there, his was missing. A sudden shrill of panic caught her. 'maybe he took in with him' she tried convincing herself. After wearing her clothes she sat on the bed smiling dreamily waiting for her Milind to come out and then make her his forever. She waited another few more minutes as a wave of panic passed and she went and tapped the door once again. "Milind? Will you be long?"
There was no answer. She threw open the door and found it empty. Panic rose over her, her chest tightened.
After all they shared last night he cant jus leave. He cant walk away without a single word. He couldn't.
She began to think of why he must have been out and thousands of reason came in all at once. Maybe he went to fetch her car. She waited for another half an hour before angrily taking her bag and marched out of the cottage.
The night has meant nothing for him. He has gone, without leaving a word, not even a note. Coldness gripped her and pain stung her heart. She felt like as if a knife has been turned in her heart. She closed her eyes as she made her way to her car. The whole path was damp and muddy yet she made her way to the car all the way thinking how easily he has seduced her. He didn't even ask for her name. She was blinded by love and behaved like a silly little adult who haven't learnt how to have self respect. She felt disgusted as she blinked back the tears and fought hard not to cry.
When she reached to her car, she felt numb. It was parked exactly where it was. Se blindly sat in the car and drove towards her home all numb to think about anything.
She switched on the radio as once again the music began to play
Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you
Unable to hold her tears any longer, she burst into tears and cried her heart out as she drove all the way back to her home.
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