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Suddenly, she felt Manek being pushed off of her. She opened her eyes and tears made it nearly impossible to see what was going on. She quickly blinked and shook her head to get rid of them. She finally focused on the scene in front of her and was shocked beyond her wits!
Zaib was beating up Manek! His face was contorted with rage, and his thin frame could hardly support his weight. He was staggering but still managed to throw a few punches at Manek. Manek who was caught by the element of surprise, didn't resist the beating until he fainted.
Kripa kept looking at Zaib with surprise until he collapsed from tiredness. 'Zaib!' Kripa screamed. She ran to him and caught him just before he hit the ground. Kripa dragged him to the couch, all the while repeating the same words, 'Zaib, are you OK? Are you OK? Oh my God, are you OK?' Once again, she didn't realize the tears in her eyes until Zaib looked at her.
Zaib's voice was rusty from lack of use. He croacked, 'Kripa, don't cry. Tie Manek up with something before he wakes up. I don't have any more strength. Call the cops right away.' He gave her a small, tired smile, gave her a limp hug and fell asleep on the couch.
She hugged him tightly on the couch and started blabbering. 'Zaib, I can't believe you are finally awake. I knew that you would wake up one day, but not just today. Thank you so much for saving me, Zaib. Oh my God, what would have happened if it was not for you? Oh Zaib, you are fine. You are fine. I'm so glad you're awake.' She pulled herself from the couch and realized that he was fast asleep.
Kripa couldn't believe what had just happened. Before she could fathom what was happening, Manek started to groan. Kripa panicked and saw her dupatta on the table. She ran, grabbed it and tied Manek's hands behind his back.
She called the police station and told them about the part where Manek had tried to rape her and he was tied up. She hung up the phone and immediately dialed another number.
'Kripa must be having such a blast, right.' Aaliya giggled. 'That Manek is actually quite a gentleman. If he didn't like Kripa, I would have gone after him.'
Prithvi looked sternly at her, 'I don't like him. If I would have known before that she is going out on a date with him, I would have definitely stopped her. He looks too slick.' Prithvi frowned in his ice cream.
'Oh Prithvi, leave her alone,' Mishti chided. 'Stop behaving like a big brother. If it was up to you, Kripa wouldn't even have a life.'
He looked at both of them and sighed, 'I don't know what it is with you women; you can't spot them. I am telling you, something is not right about that guy. I'll tell Kripa not to meet him from next time.'
'As if she'll listen to you. Anyways, if she hasn't called yet, she must be having the time of her life. Do you think we should call her and ask her?' Aali winked at Mishti.
Prithvi was just about to reply when the phone rang. 'That must be Kripa. Hello,'
'Prithvi, Prithvi,' he heard Kripa sobbing in the phone.
'Hello, Kripa, what's wrong? Is everything OK? Why are you crying?' he glanced quickly at the dinner table and saw frightened expressions of his wife and his sister.
'Prithvi,' he heard her sob his name again. He heard her take a deep breath and try to calm down. 'Prithvi, please come over. Everything is fine, so don't panic. Please Prithvi,' she interrupted when she realized he was about to speak, 'everything is fine. Drive carefully. Leave Mishti at home, if possible. But knowing her, that's not going to happen. Just be careful, she's pregnant-'
'Kripa, don't tell me that she's pregnant. I know she's pregnant,' he shouted on the phone. 'Tell me what's wrong. I'm coming right over, stay calm. I'll be there in a minute.'
Prithvi told them everything was fine, packed them in the car and drove as quickly as he could without upsetting Mishti. The traffic was ridiculous for almost midnight. What was going on? When they reached at Kripa's house, the police was leaving. The trio glanced at each other and ran to her house.
Kripa had finished telling the policemen everything and sat exhausted on her couch. Her friends took one look at her bruised face and assumed the worst, 'Kripa,' Mishti rushed to Kripa's side.
Kripa took one look at Mishti and flung herself on to her bond-sister. 'Mishti,' she sobbed on her shoulder. 'Manek tried to rape me,' the sisters cried with each other. Kripa heard Aali sniff, 'I'm fine though, I'm completely fine,' she said holding Aali's gaze. She then glanced at Prithvi who had gone white the moment he had surveyed the scene.
She left Mishti's embrace and went to Prithvi. She put her hand on his cheek and stared him in the eyes, 'I'm fine, Prithvi. Seriously. I know you had warned me to stay away from that bas***d, but I never listened to you.'
Prithvi stared at Kripa with tears in his eyes and suddenly jerked her forward in a hug, 'Kripa, I was so worried, are you OK? What happened? First let's sit,' he walked with her to the couch. Mishti brought tea for everyone and gave a watery smile to Kripa.
'Everything was fine in the beginning. We went to the restaurant and he behaved like a perfect gentleman. Then I heard stuff about him when I was in the bathroom. I didn't think too much of it until I heard him bragging to his friend. I slapped him and got out of the restaurant. I didn't know that he followed behind me. I opened the door and he was right outside with rage on his face, and I knew what was going to happen.'
Kripa paused, staring into space. Nobody interrupted because they knew that it would be best for her to get everything out.
'He grabbed me and tried to rape me. All of a sudden, I felt him being pulled away from me. Guess who saved me? Zaib!'
Everyone gave a gasp of surprise. Kripa nodded and her eyes had widened, 'I don't know how he got up; I don't know what had happened. He just kept beating Manek until Manek passed out. Then Zaib told me to call the cops and he fell asleep.'
'Right, he fell asleep. He saved me, and he freaking fell asleep!'
Prithvi gave a weak chuckle, 'Oh Kripa, I'm so glad you're fine. And I can't believe Zaib woke up!'
'Yeah, we never expected him to wake up. We just wanted to support you, no matter what, we just didn't believe you.'
Kripa slept fitfully that night. She kept dreaming about the incident, but Zaib was always there to save her. She woke up early and went to Zaib's room, who was fast asleep.
She sat on the edge of the bed and stared at her unexpected hero. His arm was covering his face and it was the first time that she saw him in that position. He had always slept straight, never moving an inch.
His hair was cut short and his cheeks hollow. She moved her gaze to outside the window unseeing. Her rose bushes were in full bloom and the scent wafted in his room. She glanced back at him in no time, or was it a lot of time later? Time had lost all meaning to her after the incident.
Her hazel eyes met his brown ones. Her heart almost stopped beating. The edges of his mouth curved and her lips curved in response.
'Good morning, Kripa,' his voice rusty again from lack of use.
'Good morning, Zaib,' Kripa suddenly laughed and lunged at his sleeping frame.
P.S. Let me know if you find any errors so I can correct for the rest of the readers. Thank you!
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