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Chapter 68: The Art of Making Up
Veera slowly walked through the doorway following the rest of the contestants in the design contest. She was cautiously optimistic about her chances but was preparing herself for the worst. She could see that everyone was just as anxious and jittery over the judges' decision. In the next few minutes someone's life was about to change. Veera glanced over to the judges' table and saw them quietly discussing something at the last second. Duncan James was talking to Nihaal who was simply nodding his head as if he was receiving important instructions on what was going to occur next. Her eyes followed Nihaal as he walked away retreating into a corner of the room where some other design contest staffers were standing. He was wearing a simple black suit. She thought it complemented him well and that he looked quite handsome. Veera paused for second unable to believe that she had actually thought Nihaal was looking handsome. She shifted her eyes away in her own strange attempt to deny what her mind had stated, Nihaal looked handsome. She took a deep breath as the judges began to settle back down in their seats. She then spotted her cousin Jyoti entering the room and walking across the way behind the judge's table to where Nihaal was standing. They exchanged greetings with big smiles on their faces. Veera couldn't help but feel a strange tug in her heat at their closeness. She couldn't understand why she was feeling this way. Jyoti could make friends with whomever she wanted and Nihaal the same. It wasn't like Nihaal was her friend first. And there it was again an accidental slip of the mind. Since when was Nihaal her friend? What ownership did she have over him? Jyoti was probably more of a friend to him than she ever was. Veera was torn from her thoughts when Duncan James stood up from where he was sitting and addressed the contestants. It was the usually pep-talk, praising of talent, and wishing everyone good luck type of speech. Veera could hear the contestants standing on the stage all take a collective breath with her as they each individually prayed that their name would be called.
"Amanda Luca," Duncan announced. "You are the winner! Congratulations!" Everyone in the room started clapping for the winner as she stood in mild shock that her name had actually been announced. Veera smiled and warmly placed her hands on her shoulder giving her a gentle push to go and accept her award and shake Duncan's hand.
"Oh My God..." Amanda gushed. "Really?"
"Yes, really. Congratulations...you'll be working with me on my new line," Duncan chuckled.
Eventually all the other contestants made their way out of the room as the contest had come to a close. Veera trudged along with a disappointed feeling of having lost something important. She was so close to seeing a dream of hers coming true and when it didn't it stung her heart. She wandered over to a sitting area and sat down feeling a bit sorry for herself.
"Can I buy you lunch?"
Veera looked up to see Nihaal standing next to her. She stared at him unable to respond. Nihaal sighed and sat down. He looked straight ahead at the window taking in the view of the other office buildings and complexes that surrounded the area. "I was thinking Italian. I know a great place from here. Better pizza than the one we had last time."
"But what about Jyoti?" Veera found herself suddenly asking.
Nihaal flexed his eyebrows at her question and then smiled. "She's doing an interview with Duncan and Amanda."
"Oh," Veera replied feeling stupid that she had asked that question to him. She wondered if he thought she was being childish. She could have sworn she sounded a bit jealous.
Nihaal rose to his feet and adjusted his suit jacket. "Come on..." His tone wasn't the usual soft spoken one. There was an underlining authoritative command in his statement.
Veera glance up at him with surprise. This behavior of his was something she never would have expected. Whenever they interacted, she was usually yelling at him and he would good heartedly take it and let her in some ways walk all over him. She found herself automatically getting up from the chair and following him to the elevators.
Nihaal hit the G1 button in the elevator and waited patiently for it to descend to garage one. When the elevator doors opened he walked down the parking aisle to a black Lexus sedan. He opened the passenger door for Veera before walking to the driver side and getting in himself. He gently backed the car out of its parking space and drove out onto the street. "Mind if I play some music?" he asked.
"It's your car...I mean...sure," Veera replied.
Nihaal grinned at her attempt to be civil with him and pushed the CD button. The car soon filled with the jazzy-blues music of John Mayer. Veera spent her time staring out the passenger window watching the scenery pass by her. After a few minutes she suddenly spoke up. "I never knew you had a car."
"You assumed I just walked, rode the subway, or took cabs everywhere?" Nihaal joked.
"No, I didn't mean it like that..."
"And I didn't mean it like that either..." Nihaal corrected realizing she hadn't gotten that he was just joking around. "Yes, I have a car. I don't always drive it into the city. The traffic here is horrible...not to mention the hassle of trying to find a parking space."
"The traffic is bad," Veera replied.
The rest of the car ride was spent in silence except for the musical singing coming from the stereo. Thirty five minutes later Nihaal was handing over his keys and paying someone to park the car in their outdoor parking lot. He motioned for Veera to follow him and they quickly crossed the street. They walked a few blocks down the road before entering a nice little Italian pizza parlor.
"What's the matter you don't like the pizza here?" Nihaal asked as he softly chewed. They had been quietly sitting ever since they came into the restaurant. He didn't want to pressure Veera into some sort of conversation but eventually he couldn't take the awkward silence any longer and finally decided to speak up.
"No, it's great. You were right it does taste better than the one we ate at last time," Veera answered.
Nihaal took a sip of his soda and wiped his hands with a napkin. "I know I don't have much fashion sense but for what it's worth I thought you had the best design...and I know it sucks right now but things will get better I promise. When one door closes another opens...God never leaves us in the dark for long."
Veera glanced up and gave a soft grin. It was something her brother Prem would have said. "Thanks Nihaal."
"You do realize if you continue eating this slowly I'll end up finishing the entire pizza by myself...and I can do it too...don't think I can't," he challenged. Veera let out a chuckle making him smile brightly. "I actually got you to laugh instead of shouting at me for once, wow!"
"Shut up! I don't always shout at you!" Veera protested.
Nihaal just laughed, "Right, so you were saying..."
Veera scrunched up her nose and pouted. "I don't."
"All right you don't. Just half the time you do," Nihaal teased.
"Why do you always do that? I think sometimes you try to push my buttons on purpose," Veera replied.
"Buttons? I didn't realize you had buttons on you."
Veera sighed and shook her head at his silliness. "You really are something Nihaal."
"Thanks. I'll take that as a compliment," he grinned.
Veera felt a strange tingling sensation form in the middle of her palms as she noted how nice his smile was. She immediately shifted her eyes away and stared down at her plate wondering what was wrong with her. Why was she suddenly noticing all these things about him? He had laughed and smiled in front of her before and it didn't affect her one bit but today it was different. She took a bite of her pizza and sat there berating herself for thinking of such stupid things.
"You okay?" Nihaal asked.
"Why do you keep asking that?"
"You turned all silent on me again," Nihaal replied.
"So I have to keep talking to make you feel that I'm okay?" Veera asked.
"Something like that...it's a bit boring to be sitting her and not talking...don't you think. Anyways, it will help keep your mind off of things," Nihaal reasoned.
"Okay...what do you use to brush your teeth?" Veera inquired rather randomly.
Nihaal arched his eyebrow at her. "Like most people...I use a toothbrush and toothpaste. Why? Something wrong with my teeth? Should I go to the dentist?"
"Oh no...it's just your teeth are really white that's all," Veera replied feeling a bit idiotic at her question.
"You had me worried there for a minute," Nihaal replied. Their conversation was soon interrupted by his cell phone. "Hello? Oh hey Joyti...yeah, we're having lunch right now. Pizza...yup at the place we went to last time...Dominic's..."
Veera felt her stomach suddenly do a bizarre flip. The very mention of her cousin's name was sending unpleasant vibes within her. She kept wondering what happened the last time Nihaal and Joyti came to the pizza parlor. She forced a smiled when Nihaal hung up the phone and looked at her. "Joyti's coming over and joining us for lunch."
"Oh...that's great," Veera answered with fake excitement. She then contemplated for a brief second, "So does that mean this pizza is yours and we should get another one?"
Nihaal burst into laughter at her comment. "Don't worry...I think she's going to get pasta. She always does. This pizza is safe."
Meher sat in the middle of her room at the townhouse doing some cleaning. She was separating her clothes into three piles; keep, throw away, and donate. She was amazed at the amount of things she had collected in the one year she had lived in Canada. She had purposely run over to the townhouse to clean so she didn't have to see Preet. She knew she was being stupid and she could hear Ashlesha's voice nagging her in her head that she needed to go talk to Preet instead of hiding in the townhouse. She sighed when she heard the doorbell ring interrupting her work. She came down the stairs expecting to see her parents because they were the only people she had told what she was doing today. Her eyes widen when she saw through the peep hole that it was Preet. She turned her back to the door and nervously put her hands to her mouth wondering what she should do. A part of her wanted to runaway and the other part knew she had to face him sooner or later. She took a deep breath and opened the door.
"Hi," Preet simply greeted. His eyes roamed about afraid of making eye contact with her for too long. "Um, can I come in? Please?"
Meher nodded, "Sure."
"You're parents told me you were at the townhouse cleaning out your closet," Preet explained.
"Yes. I'm separating my clothes out...throwing away the really old ones...keeping the ones I really wear...and anything left over I'll probably donate," Meher replied.
"That's really great...sounds like you have a system. Maybe I should do that too. I'm sure I have some things in my closet that I don't really wear anymore that are still good and could be donated," Preet said trying to make conversation.
"Do you want something to drink?" Meher offered as she walked towards the kitchen.
"Um, Pepsi? If you have any left...or water is fine," Preet replied as he followed her. He found it so strange that they were acting like complete strangers. He use to make himself at home whenever he came over to the townhouse, but now he was being polite and requesting for something to drink.
Meher handed him a can of Pepsi while she took out a bottle of iced tea. Preet lifted the tab on the can and cracked it open while Meher twisted the cap on her bottle open. They both glanced up at each other and then shifted their eyes away and took a sip of their drinks. The awkward silence in the room was almost deafening. Meher took a deep breath forcing herself to take the challenge and opened her mouth to say what she needed to say. Preet turned his head back and faced Meher straight on looking at her to do what he needed to do. "I'm sorry," they both blurted out at the same time. Their faces broke out into tiny half grins amused by their timing.
"I'm really sorry Meher. I didn't realize...I didn't know," Preet rambled. "I'll be a lot better next time. If you aren't comfortable with the parties...we can do other things. I guess I'm so use to it that I didn't see that it was bothering you."
"I'm sorry too Preet. I should have talked to you about it before but I didn't and instead I started yelling at you at the party. And I don't think you're an alcoholic...I know you never go over your limit..." Meher replied.
"No, if you don't like me drinking than I won't touch the stuff again," Preet said.
"No Preet, that wasn't the point of what I was telling you," Meher said shaking her head. "I don't want you making promises like that. I don't want to force you to change."
"You're not forcing me Meher. I know I get a bit touchy-feely when I have a few in me and I don't want you thinking I'm flirting with girls or have other people assume I'm flirting with them. I'll be more careful about what I say or maybe say nothing at all," Preet replied.
"That's not the point I was trying to make. I don't want you to feel like you can't be yourself," Meher said calmly looking at him. "I guess what I'm trying to say is to think a bit...realize I'm part of this relationship too."
Preet put his Pepsi can on the counter and tenderly cupped her cheek. "I'm lucky to have someone like you in my life. I'll try my best...think a little before I act. And about the drinking...two drinks is my limit...no more than that. Agreed?"
"Agreed," Meher said giving a soft smile.
Preet grinned brightly. "Thanks."
"For being who you are. Don't ever change that," Preet answered. His eyes sparkled in happiness when she leaned towards him and gave him a hug. "So did we just survive our first real fight?"
"Yes, I think we did," Meher replied into his chest.
Preet tightly his hold on her and effortlessly said, "I love you." Meher lifted her head in surprise to hear him so those words to her. They had been dating for awhile and they both knew that they cared a lot for each other but neither one of them had openly said those words to each other. "I love you Meher," he repeated again making sure she had heard him. The awestruck look in her eyes was a bit nerve-racking for him to see. "I just want you to know that. No matter what...if I do something stupid again or whatever happens...I want you know that you have my heart. I belong to you...so I don't want you to worry about other people. You're beautiful inside and out...the care you've shown to my family, the way your eyes sparkle when I mention the word buffet, the crazy and brilliant ideas you get, your laughter, your smile...these are just some of the things I love about you."
"Preet..." Meher uttered in gently shock.
He smiled tenderly as he wiped away some tears that had fallen from her eyes. "I must have done something right to have you in my life."
"I must have done something right too," Meher replied and hugged him tightly. "You're the best."
"Don't go saying that. We just made up from a fight that I caused," Preet answered.
Meher shook her head as she slipped her head back down from his shoulder to look him in the eye. "You've always been by my side helping me, you take care of me, you make me laugh...you make me happy. And I know you have so much to give. I can see it...in your own way you're trying and I really appreciate that. Don't compare yourself to others...I'm not dating them...I'm dating you...I'm with you and you'll all that I need." Preet nodded his head understanding the subtlety of her words. She was telling him not to compare their relationship with Prem and Heer's or Harman and Maya's relationship or allow others to question the relationship they had with each other.
Preet gently leaned his head closer to Meher's to seal a loving kiss on her lips. They stood there for a few minutes enjoying the sensation and celebrating them overcoming this hurdled that had entered in their relationship. When the kiss finally broke Meher shyly looked into Preet's warm eyes and said, "I love you too Preet." He grinned widely at her declaration. He wasn't really expecting a response from her because it was just something natural that he had felt in his heart and the reason why he let those words float out of his mouth. But even still, hearing those words from her made him feel ecstatic that she felt the same way about him as he did about her.
"I love you," Preet simply repeated and gave her another kiss.
Meher melted in Preet's embrace thinking about what people usually said about fighting and making up. The best thing about fighting was the making up and indeed it was she thought. When the kiss naturally broke, they shyly looked at each other with grins on their faces over their declaration of love. It was another step they were taking in their relationship that was beginning to pave the way into something more serious down the road. It was too soon to start jumping at the word marriage but at least they knew they were committed to each other.
"So, need any help with cleaning the closet?" Preet asked.
"I think I'll be fine actually," Meher replied.
"It will go a lot faster with two people...you can dress up and I can give you my opinion," Preet suggested.
"Am I hearing this correctly? Are you asking for a fashion show?" Meher gasped. "Where are Veera and Maya around when I need them? They'll never let you live this down if they heard what you just said."
"That's why it's only going to be between you and me right?" Preet asked in panic. "I just meant if you had trouble deciding what you wanted to keep...you could ask me...you know or like show it to me."
Meher laughed, "Oh they are going to get a kick out of this. I'm calling Veera now..."
"Meher!" Preet yelled as she ran away from him giggling.
"I have to call her anyways to find out if she won the design contest or not," Meher replied as Preet chased her around the house.
"Ahahah!" Preet shouted triumphantly as he succeeded in getting the house phone away from Meher's hands.
"You go and babysit that phone while I use my cell phone," Meher said as she quickly ran up the stairs and into her room locking it shut.
Preet stared at the cordless phone in his hand and realized he had been tricked. She was planning on using her cell phone all along and had just used the cordless landline phone as a distraction. "Meher!" he hollered and ran upstairs.
Harman gently held the hand linked with his arm and smiled while the hostess walked him and Maya to their table. "Your server will be with you shortly. Enjoy."
"Thank you," Harman replied. He looked at his companion and shook his head, "What did I tell you?"
"Not to think and just enjoy tonight," Maya repeated.
"Exactly. So don't do it. I set up this whole night for us to forget about what's been going on and for use to spend some time together and enjoy ourselves. We're not going to think about our troubles." Harman said.
Maya gave a soft nodded and tiny half grin, "You're right Harman. I really enjoyed the movie tonight."
"I did too." He then saw Maya gasped as a thought entered her mind. "Maya, what did I tell you?"
"No, it's not that. I just realized Veera has been home for two days and I haven't even gone over and visited her. I'm such a horrible friend. How is she holding up? I only talked to her briefly the day the results were announced for the design contest...that was a week ago."
"You're not a horrible friend. You've been busy with things your Dad has been asking you to do for him...and your mind has been preoccupied with our situation," Harman replied. "And to tell you the truth we didn't find out about the contest results from Veera...she never called home. It was Meher who found out. Veera doesn't really want to talk about it. Ma's been giving her pep talks and curiously enough Nihaal has been calling and checking up on her."
"Nihaal has been calling?" Maya asked her eyes sparking with wonder. "What have I've been missing?"
Harman laughed at her remark and was about to elaborate when their waiter came to take their order. They quickly placed their orders with the waiter who informed them he would be out with their drinks and complimentary basket of breadsticks soon. Once the waiter had left Maya looked at Harman with great interest. "So? What happened?"
"Well, it's not as exciting as you're making it out to be. Nihaal calls his parents to check up on them...you know Balraaj Uncle is still getting monitored by the hospital...he's health is getting better day by day. I think they are thinking about moving back to India once Prem Bhaiya and Heer Bhabhi come back from their honeymoon."
"Awww, I'm sure Heer and Meher are going to miss having them around. And Nihaal too...I mean he's been away from them for so long. Even though he lives in New York at least it isn't too far from Canada. He can easily catch a flight and be there in the same day to go and visit them," Maya said.
"Yeah, I know. New York to Canada is a lot closer than New York to India. But I think Uncle doesn't want to be a burden to my parents. Of course Bauji doesn't mind and tells him he's spouting nonsense," Harman said. "Well, anyways during his conversations with his parents he always asks if Veera is doing well."
"So Nihaal is interested in Veera?" Maya asked with excitement in her voice.
"I don't know. I wanted to get your take on it. Yesterday Veera was actually talking on the phone with Nihaal and then he asked if he could speak with his mother. So, Veera handed her cell phone over to Teji Auntie...and I guess that's what sparked the interest. Preet as usually started poking around and Veera was like he likes Jyoti," Harman explained.
"What? Your cousin? How did she get involved in all of this?" Maya inquired. "Oh the things I've been missing. I need to speak with Veera and get down to the bottom of this."
"But I just told you what happened," Harman replied a bit pouty that she was disregarding what he had told her.
"I can't determine if Nihaal likes her or not by that. I mean he could very well have been talking to her about the contest...maybe some rules about the designs that she saw or she's under a gag order and can't divulge who won until Duncan James makes an official announcement...you know all this business stuff. And his concern could be because his sister is married to her big brother...and if he is interested in Jyoti then it would make sense for him to be concern about what is going on in the family," Maya reasoned.
"Wow, I never thought about it that way. Well, I don't think Veera likes him," Harman replied.
"What makes you say that?" Maya asked. They paused their conversation again as the waiter brought them their drinks and the basket of bread. They politely thanked the waiter and returned to the conversation.
"She's always yelling at him," Harman said.
"She yells at you and Preet...though I've never seen her really yell at Prem," Maya mused.
"We are her brothers after all. Nobody yells at Prem Bhaiya because he's older than us...while except for Kulraj Di...cause she's the eldest and can get away with it."
"Veera yells at you two because you are always teasing her and pushing her buttons...which is something Nihaal loves to do. I wonder if it's just a brotherly automatic reaction he does or something more...you know how boys act during grade school...you tease the one you like," Maya said.
"Tease the one you like? I don't see Nihaal being one of those types of guys. He comes off quite mature," Harman replied.
"Well, either way this is something I'm going to get down to the bottom with...I'll figure this little mystery out," Maya promised.
"You'll have your chance very soon. Preet and Meher have been talking about taking a weekend trip to our cabin in the woods," Harman said. "Meher is trying to convince her brother to join us."
"A weekend trip? Who's going?"
"Well, Preet, Meher, you and me of course, and Veera so far. Preet and Meher are trying to get Nihaal to come and they are talking to Ash to see if she has any free time...and I think Kunal has been invited...and possible Sang and his girlfriend," Harman answered.
"Sounds like a lot of fun. I can't wait...though I've never really been camping before. Are we going to be all authentic and everything?"
"We're going to be staying at the cabin so no hardcore camping is going to be taking place unless you really want to," Harman said. "We've done it before and let's just say something always happens to somebody. We'll probably set up some tents in the back yard and do a semi-camping type of thing."
"Either way I can't wait. A weekend away from everything...fantastic!" Maya gushed. Harman smiled and slowly inched his hand over to her side of the table. "Harman..."
"No harm...it's just hand holding," he simply replied as he held firmly onto her delicate hand.
They continued to chat about this and that as they waited for the waiter to bring them their food. It wasn't long before their meals were delivered and they ate happily. Maya was laughing at a funny story that Harman had told when she suddenly caught to her surprise her father entering the restaurant. Her eyes immediately clouded over. "Daddy..."
Harman turned his head and saw that Vinay Bindar was talking to some business associate of his as a hostess guided them to their seats. "Don't worry Maya...he hasn't said we can't date. He just doesn't approve."
"But still..." Maya murmured. She then looked in alarm as Harman got up from the table. "Where are you going?"
"To go greet your father. It's the polite thing to do," Harman explained as he walked away from the table.
"Wait for me," Maya said and quickly followed him.
Vinay turned his head with surprise at seeing his daughter with Harman. His face turned firm but he refrained from speaking any harsh words. "Hello."
"Hello Mr. Bindar," Harman greeted.
"Hello Daddy...Sanjay Uncle," Maya greeted.
"Maya it has been a long time...my, you have grown," Sanjay replied. "I remember when you use to play at our house. Vicky's in town you know. Just came back from a project he was doing in London. You should come stop by and visit."
"Haa, Uncle I'll do that," Maya politely answered.
"Who is this fine young man you're with?" Sanjay asked. He then looked at Harman and stretched out his hand, "Sanjay D'Souza."
"Harman Juneja," he replied shaking his hand firmly.
"Juneja? You wouldn't happen to be related to Lalit Juneja would you?"
"Yes sir, he's my father," Harman answered.
Sanjay chuckled and then addressed Vinay. "Nice to see two business men who butt heads in the business field playing nicely with each other off the field...allowing their children to see one another...who would have thought." Vinay simply made a grumbling noise in response to his friend's comment. "Well, don't want to take any time away from your fun...go back and finish your dinner. We old folks have some catching up to do."
Maya and Harman politely nodded and went back to their table. "See that wasn't so bad."
"I guess," Maya replied with a sense of relief.
Now it was Maya's turn to see what was terrifying her boyfriend. "What?"
"Bauji and Ma? What are they doing here?" Harman gawked.
"It looks like they came to eat dinner," Maya said.
"But...why? They usually eat at home...why? Where is the rest of the family?" Harman sputtered in disbelief. "This is going to be bad if our fathers see each other."
"Maybe the hostess will put them on the opposite sides of the room," Maya said with wishful thinking.
"Oh no...Ma just saw us...their walking over here," Harman said with a pale face.
"Let's go meet them so they don't see," Maya suggested and quickly walked forward.
"So Harman has brought you here to eat I see," Gayatri smiled. "I don't like much Western food but I do like this restaurant very much."
"Haa Auntie...the food here is very delicious," Maya said.
"Bauji what are you doing here?" Harman asked nervously.
"I can't take my wife out to eat? I need permission now from my own children?" Lalit asked with a chuckle. He politely nodded his head at Maya acknowledging her presence but made no effort to speak with her. Harman stood like a statue wondering what he should do next. "Son, you're blocking the hostess who is trying to take us to our table."
"How about that table over there? I think the view there is quite nice," Harman suggested pointing to a table tucked in the corner away from Maya's father's table.
"What's wrong with our table?" Gayatri innocently required.
"Let the hostess takes us were we should be seated. There is a system they have and there is a reason why they use it," Lalit explained to Harman.
"This way please," the hostess smiled and started walking again. She was leading them to a table a few feet away from Vinay Bindar and his friend.
Harman panicked and glanced over at Maya making faces as to what they were going to do. She shrugged her shoulders and then thought of something when she saw a waiter come by with a pitcher of water. She quickly pushed Harman who stumbled forward knocking the waiter who then knocked Lalit. Unfortunately, the result wasn't what she had attended. Because of the force and timing water spilled out and ended up splashing on her father, Sanjay, Lalit, and Harman. They were now right in front of the vary table they didn't want them to be.
"I'm so sorry," the waiter apologized profusely.
"It's all right...it's just water nothing major," Sanjay good heartedly responded. "I didn't get too wet."
"Watch where you are going Harman," Lalit sternly spoke.
"Sorry Bauji...I tripped over my shoe lace," Harman said quickly apologizing. He then bowed his head at Sanjay and Vinay. "I'm so sorry."
"I should have known something like this was going to happen," Vinay grumbled.
Lalit turned around recognizing the voice and scowled, "You're here?"
"Yes, I'm here. I was having a good dinner until you ruined it with your presences and your clumsiness," Vinay barked.
"I didn't do it on purpose. I didn't even know you were here in the first place. If I had known I wouldn't have come," Lalit retorted. "And it was an accident...my son has already apologized."
"I know. I heard. He should watch where he is going as well," Vinay replied. "What IS he doing with my daughter?"
"Excuse me? Are you implying that my son has tricked your daughter? Maybe it is your daughter that has bewitched my son!" Lalit snapped.
Gayatri groaned and couldn't believe this was happening. She was not pleased at all that their family matter was being aired publicly in the open. Her face had turned a flushy pink color. Harman swallowed uncomfortably as the fathers began to picker back and forth.
"Gentlemen, gentlemen," Sanjay said trying to step in and break up the embarrassing fight that was taking place. "Mind your manners...we're in public...at least for your families sake."
"Don't stick your finger in my face," Lalit said.
"I can do as I please," Vinay replied waving his finger at him. "You tell your son to stay away from my daughter."
"You tell your daughter to stay away from my son," Lalit huffed.
"Maya..." Vinay said in a commanding tone. "We're going home. I can't take any more disrespect."
"Harman...you're coming with us," Lalit ordered. Gayatri turned and looked at her husband with displeasure while Harman stared at his father in shock.
"Bauji..." Harman uttered.
"I'm your father and you're listening to me. From this day forward you are not to see Maya again," Lalit instructed.
"Maya you hear that? And this is the family you want to get married into? You can find someone better. I want you to cut ties with all of them," Vinay demanded.
The fathers looked at the couple and waited for them to do as they had directed. Harman simply took Maya's hand into his and firmly held it. "I'm sorry. No, I won't."
"Harman..." Lalit said with surprise. He couldn't believe his son wasn't listening to him. "That was not a suggestion that was a direct order."
"I know and I'm not doing it," Harman calmly stated. "I love Maya and I'm not going to let your differences with Maya's father get in the way of my happiness...our happiness. I'm going to marry her with or without your consent Bauji. I was giving you time to think things over and give us a chance. But I guess you made your decision already." He then looked at his mother, "Ma, if you'll excuse us." Gayatri nodded and gave a tiny smile indicating she was very proud of her son for standing up for what he believed in.
"Maya? Where are you going?" Vinay asked.
"I'm sorry Daddy. But I love Harman and where he goes I go. I hope you can understand one day," Maya sadly replied and followed Harman to the front of the restaurant to settle their bill.
Both the fathers were astonished that their children had blatantly disobeyed them. Sanjay let out a tiny grin. "You can't fight love. The sooner you realize it the better it will be for the both of you." Vinay and Lalit exchanged heated glances with each other and then bitterly turned away.
"Gayatri we are going home," Lalit barked.
because I have a few choice words for you Lalit Juneja," she replied in a hush
tone as she followed her husband out of the restaurant.
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