Joined: 16 July 2010
Joined: 24 May 2010
Joined: 24 May 2010
Joined: 24 May 2010
Joined: 24 May 2010
Mayank was waving his hands about like he did any time he was discussing something he was excited about. And the other man, Mayank's cousin, was looking at him, listening to what he was saying no doubt. He was wearing a nice white dress shirt, un-tucked, with a dark pair of jeans. His hear was a messy disarray and I wondered how I had missed that unique color earlier. I really had been angry to miss that hair. His eyes slid around the room, scanning the faces, and I realized that Mayank was done speaking.
He grinned when his eyes landed on me and I cringed.
Dang! This is happening. Do you see what I mean now? Anything that can go wrong will happen to Gunjan Bhushan. Yes, that sounds about right.
"You have got to be kidding me!" I groaned.
Adhiraj burst into laughter, having to hold his sides.
"Oh my god." He gasped. "I was going to warn her but I am so glad I didn't now."
My eyes flashed to him.
"What?" I shrieked, sounding oddly like Nupur. I cleared my throat, hoping the next thing out of my mouth would be audible to human ears.
"You knew this was my carjacker?" I asked.
He smiled, the dimple on his right cheek showing itself.
"I thought he had chickened out when Mayank didn't say anything about his new truck being, 'stolen.'" He continued to grin. "But when I got home Suhu told me about what happened to your truck and I put two and two together."
This time it came from Mayank, who had moved over to Nupur's side at some point during this confusing exchange.
"Who was going to steal my truck?"
Mayank shook his head as if he couldn't even grasp the level of immaturity at play here.
"Because Adhiraj dared me to." This Samrat guy answered for him. Adhiraj nodded in unrepentant agreement.
"Are you serious?" He asked, his tone reproachful. "And you thought the chumbucket was my new truck?"
He sounded almost indignant at the idea that someone had mistaken my truck for his.
"Hey!" I exclaimed, offended. My truck wasn't that bad!
Mayank gave me an apologetic look and I rolled my eyes. Fine, I guess that wasn't the point here.
"But you took Gunjan's instead?" He questioned.
Both boys nodded simultaneously. I glared at Samrat but he only winked at me.
"Barely made it out alive." He shuttered dramatically.
"I didn't even threaten to kill you." I huffed. Out loud anyway.
"You could see it in her eyes." He said ominously to our friends. "She really wanted to kill me."
Mayank chuckled at that, probably imagining my reaction. And Adhiraj was full on laughing hysterically again.
"Man, I wish I could have seen it!" He wheezed out.
I elbowed him in the gut but it didn't even faze him.
"Gunjan does have quite the temper." Mayank admitted. At this all of my friends(the traitors) nodded as if this was a well known fact.
"Are you about through?" I asked, crossing my arms over my chest. I was the one who'd had my truck stolen and they were now ganging up on me. Making fun of me with the man who'd stolen it?
"Alright, alright." I was surprised to find it was Samrat who was holding his hands in the air, in a stop sign position, grinning at me but looking like he was trying not to. "She wasn't that bad. I probably would have reacted the same way if I thought someone had stolen my Volvo."
"Oh, no!" Nupur gasped. "Not the precious Volvo!"
Everyone pealed into laughter and Samrat sent a sly look at me. I narrowed my eyes at him. So what if he had turned the attention to himself and let them make fun of him instead? He was the reason they were making fun of me in the first place!
Nupur demanded that everyone sit down to eat then and because I am Gunjan Bhushan and I have my own personal black cloud following me guess who I had to sit beside?
"Gunjan huh?" Edward whispered without turning his head to me after everyone had started eating, the chatter loud as it always was when we were all together.
I turned my head to look at him, well scowl at him that is.
"Yes." I clipped. Upon further examination I could see his feet crossed at the ankle under the table as he leaned back in his chair, the picture of ease. He was wearing Converse sneakers. ...With his dress clothes. At his cousin's rehearsal dinner. He really did think he was five didn't he? With his sneakers, and dress shirt untucked, and his mussed up hair his appearance practically screamed, I really don't care what I look like! And yet he still looked like he just stepped out of a Vanity Fair photo shoot. God-like without trying. It made me hate him all the more.
One side of his mouth turned up but he still didn't look at me.
"What's so funny?" I demanded, eying him curiously. I didn't just get caught ogling him did I? I wasn't actually ogling him anyway. I was... observing. Yeah, that's it.
He set his fork down and looked at me and I edged my chair a little further away from him. He chuckled.
"I thought you said Beautiful wasn't a name." His tone was joking and his eyes held a smug glint. It made me want to hit him. Man, I really needed to spend less time with Suhaani. Maybe her anger was rubbing off on me. Or maybe this man had a certain talent to draw out the violent tendencies in anyone.
"It isn't." I insisted.
He grinned, picking up his fork again.
"Isn't that what your name means?"
I opened my mouth to retort, with what I have no idea. Most of the guys I meet couldn't even spell Gunjan- much less know what it means. But I didn't have time to make a reply.
"What are you two talking about?"
I looked over at Adhiraj who was grinning at us like a little boy in a toy store.
"I'm still mad at you." I told him, pointing my fork at him. He raised both eyebrows, pointing to himself with an overly innocent look. I rolled my eyes.
Samrat laughed from beside me.
"Yes. See, it's Adhiraj's fault." he said. "Not mine."
"Oh no?" I questioned doubtfully.
He shook his head seriously.
"Nope." he said cheerily. "Adhiraj was the one who dared me to move Mayank's truck. He's also the one who never warned me that there was another one parked in front."
He shot Adhiraj a look. "And he also failed to mention that Jasper was gone for the day... in his truck."
Adhiraj winced. He had clearly not thought that through. I couldn't help but laugh at that and Samrat sent me a sly grin.
"It's still your fault." I told him.
"Well, that's not fair." he insisted, puppy dog eyes in place. "I was only pulling a prank on my little cousin."
Mayank scoffed, not liking the idea of even being in the same sentence as the word little.
"And it was Adhirajs's idea in the first place."
"Tough luck, truck-napper."
He rolled his eyes.
"Okay, everyone listen up!" Nupur called although we were all sitting around the same table- clearly in hearing range. She tended to get louder the more excited she was. "The wedding is next weekend. We have to get this right."
"This is eagle one to Suhu." I said, holding my hand to my face like a walkie talkie.
"Yes, eagle one?" Rosalie asked from across the table.
"Wedding must be perfect." I relayed, making a sound that only half resembled the static of a walkie talkie.
Nupur rolled her eyes and the boys all laughed. Suhu and I had started this ever since Nupur told us we had to share the maid of honor title. We were maids of honor, partners in crime! I mean, of planning Nupur's fairy tale wedding.
"She does have a sense of humor." Samrat murmured, almost to himself but his eyes gave him away. He was looking at me through the corner of his eye, smirking just slightly as he went to take a bite of chicken.
I nudged his elbow and he missed his mouth. I just looked straightforward, grinning to myself. Victory is mine!
"Congrats man." Samrat said, hugging Mayank in that weird half hug-half back slap way that all guys hug.
"Thanks." Mayank grinned.
The dinner had gone okay after the initial shock had worn off, except for having to sit beside my mortal enemy that is. Yes, I had decided that we had to be mortal enemies now. Before he was just some person I didn't like. Would you like the man that had stolen your car? No. But now it looked like he was going to be around for a while, at least until the wedding was over. I was going to have to see him almost on a daily basis. Just not liking him wasn't going to cut it.
"Bye Samrat!" Nupur called as he walked down the sidewalk. Everyone was gathered in the entry way and they all waved. I didn't.
"Bye." he turned to walk back down the sidewalk but then he paused and turned back for a moment.
"Good bye, Gunjan." he called, loud and obnoxious.
"Later, truck-napper." I grumbled.
As soon as he got to his car Nupur slammed the door shut and whirled around. They were all looking at me.
"What?" I asked, shuffling awkwardly from foot to foot. I hated being the center of attention and now there was four people staring at me like I was some type of alien just come down in a flying saucer. Uhm, yeah... I come in peace?
"Samrat and Gunjan sitting in a tree!" Mayank sang off key. "K-i-s-"
I reached out and grabbed his mouth, cutting his horrible singing off mid-sentence.
"They're going to call PETA." I warned him. "You're disturbing all of the neighborhood animals."
"S-i-n-g." He finished quickly, the letters muddled because I was still pinching his lips together.
I rolled my eyes.
He nodded amiably.
"First comes love!" He shouted as soon as I let go.
I huffed, crossing my arms over my chest.
"Okay." He chuckled. "Now I'm through."
Our audience all laughed and I shot a look at Suhu and Nupur who were standing together.
"What?" I questioned again.
"Samrat and Gunjan sitting in a tree!" They yelled together.
God, I felt like I had been transported back to the playground when I was seven and I accidentally let it slip that I liked Benjamin.
"Samrat is very nice, Gunjan." Mayank said calmly, smiling despite himself at the scene before him.
"Samrat is a criminal." I corrected dryly.
They all laughed.
"He did a public service taking that truck off the road." Suhu said.
I scowled at her.
"You guys have chemistry." Nupur insisted.
I scrunched up my nose at her. They had to be kidding me!
"We hate each other." I deadpanned.
They all sighed in exasperation, even Mayank.
"He doesn't seem to hate you, Gun." Adhiraj snickered. I didn't honor that with a reply. That was completely beside the point. I didn't see Samrat hating any woman. Remember- smooth talking, lady's man.
"Well, I hate him."
"You know what I call all that bickering?" Suhaani asked seriously. I raised an eyebrow, dreading her answer. There was no telling what was going to come out of Suhaani Sehgal's mouth.
"Foreplay." She said simply.
I smacked my forehead, turning bright red despite my best efforts.
"Are you guys done picking on me?" I asked impatiently. "I've had a horrible couple of days. My truck was stolen. Then I realized it was only a practical joke gone bad. Then I had to suffer through a dinner with the carjacker himself. Now I'm being teased by my best friends in the whole world."
I knew it was a low blow but they all stopped laughing. Mayank and Nupur even had the decency to look apologetic.
"We're sorry, Gunjan." Nupur said, giving me a timid smile. I smiled back at her. I could never stay mad at any of them for too long. They were more than just my friends. They were my family.
"We're just worried about you." She continued.
I corked an eyebrow.
"I'm not really going to kill him, guys."
Suhaani rolled her eyes.
"We're worried because you're all alone."
"Not this again!"
This was a routine discussion for us. I hadn't exactly had a lot of dating experience and they were all 'worried' that I was going to die alone or something. I was just worried about chocking during dinner and no one being their to give me the Heimlich. Other than that I was fine. I didn't need to find a guy- I just chewed slowly.
"Gun, you haven't dated since that fling with Pual." Mayank said gently.
I scoffed. They were keeping track? This was starting to sound oddly like an intervention.
"And you could hardly call that dating." Nupur scoffed. "You didn't even really like the guy. You just thought he was hott."
I grinned, remembering.
"He was hott."
"He was a jerk." Suhu said sharply.
I nodded. There was no way I could deny that. Paul was... one of a kind. So was his temper.
"So you're saying I need to find a nice guy?" I baited.
They all nodded simultaneously.
"Like a carjacker?" I finished flatly.
Nupur threw her hands in the air.
"Fine!" She snapped. "You don't like Samrat. We get it." She threw me an exasperated look and I shrugged. He was definitely attractive. There was no denying that. He was more than simply attractive if I was being completely honest. But. he. stole. my. truck.
"So don't go out with Samrat." Suhu said easily. Gee, why didn't I think of that? Cue eye roll... now. "I'm sure we can find someone else for you."
I wrinkled my nose in distaste. This is the part where they tell me about some guy that I had never met but 'definitely had potential.' And then they would guilt me into 'just giving him a chance.'
"Oh!" Nupur squealed. "I know someone! There's a guy at Mayu's office that saw you when we dropped off lunch one day and he's been asking about you."
I looked at Mayank pleadingly- giving him my best help me look. He looked at me apologetically. Crap, he was going to side His going- to - be- wife. Of course, don't get Nups mad with the wedding so close. I narrowed my eyes at him.
"He has been." He admitted.
I sighed, my shoulders slumping.
"You've never met him but believe me, he has some potential." Nupur said.
I rolled my eyes at her.
"He's average height, average weight, with brown hair, and black eyes." She relayed. Did anyone else notice how many times she used the word average?
"And he's got an adorable baby face."
I tried very hard to keep my face free of any expression. 'An adorable baby face?' Gee, how will I ever be able to control myself? I am of the oppinion that adorable should be used in context with small children or that puppy you want but don't want to house break.
A man who is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man- I am not for him.
I hear you, Beatrice!
"Don't give me that look." Nupur huffed, crossing her arms over her chest. She was going to make such a good mom someday!
"How much you wanna bet she was reciting Shakespeare quotes in her head again?" Adhiraj chuckled.
I glared at him. Beatrice gets me okay.
"I know what you're thinking, babe."Suhu said. "But you need to trust us on this one."
She reached out and squeezed my arm, smiling apologetically.
"We don't mean to gang up on you." She said. "But we don't want you to die alone or something."
"Can't you just give him one chance?" Nupur pouted.
I groaned. I'm going to regret this.
"Fine." I sighed.
NOTE: I hope you're still liking the story. Samrat comes back into the story next chapter and some progress will be made on that front. Please don't forget to comment. And don't worry about them ganging up on Bella. They only do it because they love her and she does get them back. Well, at least one of them. *Sinister grin* Haha. Besides it adds to our entertainment so why not? Lol. Comment and you'll get the next chapter quicker.
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Joined: 24 May 2010
I can not believe that Nupur convinced me to do this. Stinking blind dates never work out. And then she had to dress me in that ridiculous flirty sundress. I threw on my sweatshirt as soon as she left. What? It was New York- rainy and cold.
And then I actually met the guy. Oh my god. Why had I let Nupur set me up? Because I'm a sucker, that's why. Nupur had good intentions but this Chako guy was not for me. Besides, who says I need a guy to be happy? Here's the thing about Nupur, and Suhaani too. She's just less obvious about it. They have found it. The true love that most people only dream about. As angry as they get with the guys sometimes and as many times as they threaten their lives on a daily basis they're it for them. And once you've found that you can't imagine being happy without it.
But let me tell you right now-Chakeshwar Agarwal was not it. If I thought he was, if I thought that it didn't get any better than this I would lay in bed for the rest of my days gobbling Ben 'n Jerry's ice cream by the gallon. The fat lady's singing. If he's as good as it gets it's time to give up.
"Maybe we could spend the next summer at the lake." he suggested casually, taking a thoughtful bite of his frozen yogurt. "Do you like the water? I've got a house boat."
I corked an eyebrow. I had only known him for two hours and he was already planning summer vacations together?
"Well, it's really my friend's cousin's houseboat." he muttered. "And it's more like a really big row boat. But a small tent can fit in it."
He smiled at me expectantly. I blinked. There's was so much to say to that. But my dad told me not to say anything if I didn't have anything nice to say. ...or was that from the bunny in Bambie?
Thankfully he didn't need a response to continue the conversation. He just shrugged.
"Oh well," he grinned. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it."
He then turned his spoon to my mouth.
"Are you sure you don't want any?" he purred. I think he was trying to look seductive. Either that or he was having an aneurysm. I wasn't sure which.
I forced a tight smile and took a step back.
"Frozen yogurt. Yum."
I narrowed my eyes at the irritatingly familiar voice and spun around to face it.
"Samrat." My tone was cold, clipped.
"I love frozen yogurt." he continued as if he had always been a part of this conversation. Was he trying to jack my night now too?
"But that was back in Arizona."
He rubbed his hands over his arms dramatically and shivered.
"It's a little cold for that here though don't you think?"
He looked me up and down.
"Especially with what the lovely lady is wearing." he smirked.
I scowled at him.
"Are you stalking me?"
He raised an eyebrow at me, not trying to hide his amusement.
"A carjacker and a stalker?" he frowned playfully. "Well, Beautiful Gunjan- you don't have a very high opinion of me, do you?"
"How do you two know each other?"
My eyes swung to Chako. I had honestly forgotten he was here. He was looking between the two of us, confused.
"It's a very long story." I said dryly.
"But very entertaining."Samrat chuckled. "Maybe we could all go get some hot chocolate and I'll tell you about it."
Mike was now thoroughly confused. He was standing there opening and closing his mouth so much that he looked like a trout with a low IQ.
"Actually we were going to go for a walk." I told him, stepping up to Chako. Chako looked very pleased by this and he slung his arm around my waist. I cringed internally but... the lesser of two evils.
Samrat looked like he was serpressing a chuckle.
"Awe." he sighed, his breath visible in the cold air. "It is a beautiful night. I'd love to join you."
"Thanks for asking."
Asking? Asked him? I didn't ask him.
I narrowed my eyes at him.
He just grinned.
"So were we walking anywhere in particular?" he prompted.
I stepped away from Chako, having to pry his arm from my waist. Since it looked like my carjacker was sticking around there was no reason to torture myself by pretending to like Chako.
"The park?" he suggested.
Samrat corked an eyebrow, turning his attention to me.
"You lead." he said. "I'll follow."
Was that a threat?
"The park sounds fine." I said through clenched teeth.
Samrat nodded, holding his hand out in an after you type of way. A smile threatened at the corner of his lips.
"Are all criminals as smiley as you?" I hissed quietly after Chako had walked a head of us. Okay- so maybe I walked slower and slower until he had to walk in front.
Samrat shot me a look.
"Criminal?" he scoffed. "You really are not the mos forgiving person I've ever met."
"I've heard that once or twice." I admitted.
"I'm not a criminal." he defended.
"You stole my truck."
He rolled his eyes.
"What ever makes you feel better about being bitter."
I stopped walking. Bitter? I wasn't bitter. Just because I didn't like the guy didn't mean I was a bad person.
"Hey, Gunjan."Chako called. "There's a house for sale across the street."
I blew out a breath, focusing on the house he was talking about.
"That it is..." I said, not seeing what he was getting at.
"Well, you never know..." He said looking down at the ground uncomfortably. "Maybe sometime in the future..."
Wait a second! Is he really saying what I thought he was saying?
"You'd have to make sure it has enough bedrooms for the little ones." Gunjan said, straight faced.
I think I may have gaged a little.
"I will not be procreating with Chakeshwar." I spat, making sure only Samrat could hear me. Chako had scampered across the street to get a flyer. Is it wrong of me to hope he gets hit by a bus?
"Gunjan,"Samrat smirked. "Children are a beautiful gift from God."
I narrowed my eyes at him.
"So are restraining orders." I said dryly.
"Seriously, after seeing him." He chuckled, looking across the street at Chako. "you think I'm your biggest problem?"
I followed his gaze to see Chako waving the flyer at me excitedly. I sighed.
"It's our first date." I admitted reluctantly.
Samrat laughed again.
"Are you kidding?"
I shook my head sadly.
"I'd never even met him before tonight." I confided. "It was a blind date."
"Oh," Samrat said, sympathetic. "That's bad."
Samrat and I stood there in silence for another moment.
"Three bedrooms!" Chako hollered across the street.
"You sure you don't want to be saved?" Samrat asked smugly.
He chuckled, pulling his phone out of his back pocket and sauntering away from me.
"Where are you going?" I called. He didn't answer me. He didn't even look back. Fine then- one nuisance gone. But at least that nuisance was good to look at. He really did get better looking every time I saw him. So annoying!
"He finally took the hint huh?" Chako asked, coming back from his treck across the street. It was buss free I saw.
I forced a tight smile.
"I guess so." I said. "Some people can just be so obtuse."
"Doesn't that mean round?"
I just looked at him. It was people like him that made me wish you had to take a test before having children. He should not be passing on those genes.
"Maybe so, Chako." I replied. Why try to explain? It would be easier to just go along with it.
I kept expecting Samrat to make another appearance, to 'save' me but after another full ten minutes listening to Chako blabber on about nothing in particular I gave up on him. The one thing that could might actually have made me dislike him a little less and he bails without saving me. This night has officially been dubbed my night with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb. I haven't decided which is which yet.
My cell phone ringing brought me back from my reverie.
I shot Chako an apologetic look, taking my phone from my pocket.
"Oh, it's my dad." I told him. "It could be important."
Actually I had no idea who this was- they weren't in my phone book. But anything that could be used to help me escape from this horrid date was very important in my eyes.
Before I could even say a greeting the voice at the other end of the line started talking, a smooth husky voice assaulting me.
"Did someone order a savoir?"
My mouth fell open in surprise but I closed it as quickly as I could.
"Oh, hi Dad." I said, looking at Chako. He was listening in while pretending not to be.
The husky voice chuckled.
"Did you just call me Dad, Gun?" He asked, amused. "Ms. Bhushan, I'm shocked!"
"Nana's sick?" I asked, feigning horror. I ignored his sarcastic comment. This was paramount.
"Oh, using Nana." Samrat tisked. "You should be ashamed."
"It's serious?" I said, acting like I was repeating what was being said on the other line.
Chako looked concerned and I felt a twinge of guilt. Was that enough to make me suffer through another few hours with him and take my chances trying to dodge the good night kiss? No. No it was not.
"Nana is fine, dear." Samrat said in a push accent. I almost laughed, imagining my dad actually sounding anything like that. "She wants you to enjoy your date with the nice blond boy."
"Oh no." I gasped, turning so Chako couldn't see me roll my eyes. That was also something that my dad would never say. "That's awful."
"She says life is short." Okay, now he was pretending to be the grandmother, talking in what was supposedly my Nana's voice. "Do something crazy. Buy the house across the street!"
I narrowed my eyes, imagining them shooting rays.
"I'll be right there." I rushed.
"Oh I'll be waiting." he purred. Wow- so much for Nana's voice. That one made me freeze for half a second, my heart skipping a beat.
I snapped my phone shut without replying. No I needed to finish this. I turned back to Chako, my eyes wide.
"My nana needs me." I said dramatically. Maybe I could summon up some tears.
"Oh," Chako said, looking disappointed. "Well we'll get together later?"
Gee, selfish. For all he knew my grandmother was dying.
"She lives in..." I floundered. "Switzerland!" I exclaimed a little too loudly.
"Yeah, Switzerland." I said, more calmly. "I've got to get back home to pack. I don't know when I'll be back."
"I'm buying a one way ticket for now." I said, cutting him off.
"Call me." he said, longing in his voice. He started to move towards me. I cringed.
"Long distance relationships are very difficult,Chako." I said in my no nonsense voice.
He didn't say anything. He just looked at me blankly.
"Well, it's been fun." I lied. "I'm sure I'll see you around... when I get back from New Zealand."
"You mean Switzerland?" he frowned.
My eyes widened.
"Yes!" I yelled. "Switzerland. I- I always get those places mixed up."
God, I was such an idiot. There goes my award winning performance.
"Bye, Chako." I called, heading off in the direction that I had parked my truck a few blocks away.
"Stupid, stupid Gunjan." I chided myself, digging through my purse for my keys. "And stupid, stupid Nupur!"
"You know one sign of insanity is talking to yourself."
I whipped around, my purse flying out of my hand and scattering its contents across the sidewalk.
Samrat was leaning against the wall of the restaurant where Chako and I had begun our evening. He had his arms crossed over his chest, one eyebrow raised at me.
"Geez," I breathed, setting my hands over my hyperactive heart. "You scared the crap out of me."
He chuckled, moving to pick my things up off of the sidewalk.
I rolled my eyes.
"Whatever." I sighed, trying not to let on to the fact that my heart was still beating away in my throat.
I picked my bag back up and started to help him collect the rest of my purse guts up but I froze, my eyes wide. Oh god no!
"Samrat, no!" I said, horrified. "Don't-"
But he'd already picked it up. He looked at me questioningly and then slowly looked back to the item in his hand. His yes shown recognition and he dropped the tampon like he'd been burned.
"God!" he groaned, his face scrunched up in disgust. "Gross."
"Don't be such a baby." I lashed out in embarrassment. I was just as horrified as he was. My face was ten shades of red and I was already planning my next therapy session to get over this memory.
He stood back up quickly as I snatched the package up. I liked to plan ahead but that had just bit me in the butt. I shoved everything back in my bag and slung it over my shoulder awkwardly.
"Thanks for helping with the get away." I mumbled, still practically glowing red from embarrassment. How do you even recover from something like that? Maybe I will have to move to Switzerland now. Or was it New Zealand?
Thankfully Samrat seemed more than willing to change topic.
"I was just a concerned citizen." he said, putting his hands in his pockets.
I made a face.
"Never going on a blind date again." I vowed, more to myself than to him.
"If you do you'll have to practice your escape plan a little more."
I looked at him questioningly.
"Seriously." he smirked. "Your lying? Sucks!"
"Don't be mean."
"No emmys for you." he sang.
I huffed, crossing my arms over my chest.
"And here I was thinking you were Tweedle Dee." I mumbled.
He raised his eyebrows, amused.
"What?" He asked.
"Nothing." I blushed. Tweedle Dee, Tweddle Dumb- what's the difference really?
I turned, putting my keys in the door of my truck. I had made sure to lock it.
"Yes?" I sighed. Of course he wouldn't let me make a graceful exit. I was tired, and annoyed, and still slightly embarrassed. Couldn't I just go home to my warm bed already?
"I have one condition for my rescue."
My mouth dropped open and I spun around.
"You've already done the rescuing." I said, indignant beyond all belief. "It's too late to add conditions."
"Come have a drink with me?" he asked sauvly, ignoring my previous snarl.
I narrowed my eyes at him.
"I don't drink." I said.
"Are you hungry?" he asked hopefully.
I crossed my arms over my chest.
"I already ate."
He sighed, sounding exasperated.
"Do you really hate me that me much?"
I started to answer him but I snapped my mouth shut. One of my problems was talking without thinking. Once I did stop to think though I knew I didn't hate him exactly. But I definitely didn't like him.
"Finish our walk?" he tried, giving me a look that was surprisingly effective.
I sucked in a breath, having trouble breathing all of a sudden. When did it get so hot out here?
"How did you get my number?" I asked, in a daze.
He blinked, surprised by my reply. Surely he was used to getting everything he wanted with that look he'd just used on me. And that's why I decided to change the subject. He needed to learn that he couldn't get everything he wanted just because he was charming, witty, and extremely sexy.
Woah there, Gunjan. a voice trilled from the back of my mind. That's the arrogant carjacker you just described there.
Oh yeah. Yikes! I needed some sleep.
"What?" he asked, shaking me from my conversation with myself. Maybe he was right and I was going insane.
"When you called to save me from Chako." I explained. "How did you get my number?"
Understanding flashed on his face.
"Oh," he said. "I tried different number combinations until I reached you."
I rolled my eyes.
"You're not going to tell me, are you?"
He clapped his hands enthusiastically.
"Oh, oh!" he grinned. "I'm a mind reader."
I scoffed, turning back to my truck.
"Good night, Samrat." I called, cutting off another of his crazy explanations.
"Good night, Beautiful Gunjan."
I rolled my eyes, turning the key in the ignition- preparing myself for the deafening roar of the engine. Nothing happened.
"Crap!" I cursed myself. I cursed Nupur for setting me up on this date from hell. I cursed my truck. I cursed my dad's old friend, Billy, who sold me him the truck. And I cursed those sweatshop kids who no doubt built the engine.
Samrat knocked on my window and I stopped my full blown rant to reluctantly roll it down. It got stuck half way and I cursed the window too.
"I'd say that's an awfully quite engine you've got there." he said. "But from the string of profanities coming from your mouth I'm guessing that's not it."
I closed my eyes, resting my head on the steering wheel.
"It always does this to me." I groaned.
He was quiet for a moment, probably wondering if I was going to lash out at any more inanimate objects.
"Do you want me to take a look at it?" he asked finally.
I opened my eyes, surprised.
"Are there any conditions?" I asked.
"No." He said. "No conditions. I'll just do it out of the kindness of my heart."
He smirked at me, walking around to the front of my truck.
"Pop the hood?" he called.
I scrambled out of the cab to join him.
"No latch." I explained, prying it open and holding it up so it didn't crush him.
He nodded, pushing his shirt sleeves up and leaning over the engine. I caught sight of a tattoo on the inside of his left wrist, a name in flowing elegant scrip. I spent the next five minutes studying that tattoo, trying to decipher the name.
"Hmm." Samrat hummed thoughtfully. "Uh-huh. uh-huh. Hmm."
"You have no idea what you're doing do you?" I asked.
He straightened up, brushing his greasy hands on the legs of his dark jeans. The shirtsleeves remained rolled up to the elbow.
"None what so ever." he admitted.
I couldn't help but laugh. He smiled faintly as he closed the hood.
"Come on." he said, turning to me. "I'll walk you home."
I looked around the empty streets of NY
"I'll be fine." I said, smiling. "But thank you." I would be lying if I said I wasn't surprised with his actions tonight. He was almost... gentlemanly?
He rolled his eyes.
"I'm not worried about you." he teased. "I'm scared of the dark."
"You are not."
He chuckled, reaching out to grab my hand casually.
"You never know." he said, good natured. "I might be."
I bit my lip, looking from his open friendly eyes to our joined hands.
"Okay." I said hesitantly. "Thanks."
I did take my hand back though. It shouldn't feel so right to be touching your mortal enemy. He cleared his throat as if just realizing that he was, or had been, holding my hand. He ran his fingers through his hair.
"Lead the way." He said, smiling tensely.
"Oh- oh yeah." I said. "This way." Damn that man to hell! That was the second time tonight he had dazzled me. A mortal enemy has no right to do that!
I lived about six blocks away and we walked the first two in awkward silence. As much as I'd wanted him to just stay quiet and leave me alone before I didn't want to walk the next four feeling uncomfortable. I wasn't a big fan of conversational lulls even if it was with your enemy.
"What's it say?" I blurted out, desperate to break the silence.
He looked over curiously.
I blushed, nodding towards his arm.
"Your tattoo." I explained.
"Oh." He held his wrist out in front of me. Shilpa was elegantly scrawled there. A ribbon was twined through the beginning S
"A girlfriend?" I asked, surprised by how hard it was to make my tone nonchalaunt. "Your daughter?"
He looked at me like I had just asked him if he spent his weekends kicking defenseless puppies.
"No." he said, eyeing me curiously. I looked away from his eyes quickly. "I'd never get a girlfriends name inked. These things are permanent you know. And I don't have any kids."
For some reason I felt better after he said that.
"Sorry." I said, looking up shyly. "I didn't mean to-"
He waved me off.
"It's my mother's name." he explained. "She was diagnosed with cancer when I was sixteen."
My eyes widened. I hadn't been expecting that. That explained the ribbon. It did look like the cancer awareness ribbon now that I thought about it.
"I got it when she went into remission." He continued. "It's been six years since then and she's still doing good."
"That's amazing." I said honestly.
"She's strong." He agreed, smiling fondly as he thought of his mother. "So it's your turn, Beautiful Gunjan."
"What do you mean?"
He rubbed his hands in front of his mouth, trying to stay warm.
"Tell me something about yourself." he explained. "Something I'd never guess."
I bit my lip, thinking.
"I love Lucky Charm Cereal." I decided. "But I only eat the marshmallows out of it."
I felt kind of guilty about choosing something so mundane after he told me about his mother beating cancer. But I didn't feel like moonlit confessions with my carjacker.
He didn't seem to mind my inane answer.
"The marshmallows are the best part." he agreed.
I smiled. So, I might have misjudged him but that didn't mean anything. He was still immature, arrogant, and... well he stole my car.
"My turn again I guess." He looked at me out of the corner of his eye and I nodded. Of course that meant I was going to have to take another turn but I was admittedly curious about him.
He blew out a breath, thinking.
"I called Nupur to get your number." He finally decided.
"And she just gave it to you?" I questioned, unbelieving.
"It took some convincing." He admitted. "But I told her you were on a horrible blind date and you were graciously letting me save you."
I gawked at him, my mouth open. He smirked at me, looking very proud.
"She said that if you were letting me save you it must be bad."
"It was bad."
He nodded in agreement.
"But it seems he's not my only problem." I teased. He corked an eyebrow.
"You called your cousin's fiance trying to track me down." I accused
"That does make me sound like a stalker doesn't it?"
I smiled, looking down at the ground. A carjacker who returns the car. A stalker who admits to the stalking. I think my mother warned me about him. He was even tattooed. But did it count if it was with his mother's name? The guy was a walking cliche.
"That would be really creepy if you didn't love me huh?"
My head whipped up and he grinned at me, talking again before I could comment.
"Your turn again." He smirked.
I rolled my eyes at him.
"Enough story time." I said. "This is my place."
We both looked up at my apartment building.
"I'll walk you." He said, heading up the sidewalk. I had to rush to catch up with him.
"You're going to have to say good bye now." I told him, unlocking my door. "No where else to walk me."
He smiled at me innocently.
"I can't come in?" he asked, using that effective tone again.
"No." I said sternly. Yes- Mom definitely warned me about him and that little dimple in his cheek.
"Well can we be friends?" he asked hopefully.
I thought about it for a moment. He wasn't good for me but he wasn't the criminal I had pegged him for. I couldn't imagine this Edward stealing candy from small children or robing any banks. I might have been too hard on him.
"No." I finally decided. "But we aren't enemies."
He put his hands to his chest dramatically.
"Not enemies?" he quoted "Wow. Why don't you just admit that you're in love with me?"
I rolled my eyes.
"Good night." I said, stepping in and closing the door before he could say something else to ruin our delicate new peace.
"You want me!" he called in a sing song voice through the door. I could only imagine what the neighbors were thinking.
"I do not!" I called back just as loudly.
I could hear his husky chuckle through the door that was separating us and I smiled to myself.
"It's okay, Gunjan ." He said. "Don't fight your feelings."
"Listen to your heart!"
I chuckled, walking away from the door after I switched the porch light off on him. He probably wasn't going home until after Mayank and Nupur's wedding. This was going to be interesting.
I'm holding my previews hostage until you comment and then I'll send
it to you personally. Please don't hate me. Comments are better than a
tattooed Samrat wearing Converse. :-) Well, maybe not but you get the
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