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Tomorrow Full of Promises4 MichiFF Note pg100 1/4 (Page 70)

divvya IF-Dazzler

Joined: 20 January 2008
Posts: 2965

Posted: 31 July 2011 at 4:15pm | IP Logged
Hello everyone, sorry for the long silence. My health has taken a big step back and I am dealing with a lot of things right now. I was just unable to write anything. Hope this phase will pass over soon. Fingers crossed. My updates may be as frequent as it used to be. So, please bear with me. I am updating two parts now trying to make up for the long delay. Cheers.

                                             Part 97 A
           Soft laughter filled the dining room, the whole ambience relaxed and the food excellent. Even in her state of mind, Prachi couldn't help appreciating it though she had no apetite. The conversation centred on Vicky and his return to India and Shreya fussed over him ignoring his protests. Prachi looked at Milind seated next to her from the corner of her eyes. Earlier in Vicky's room, he hadn't questioned either her or Vicky regarding her obvious distress but swiftly got on with the packing. Prachi had stood their watching him nervously but soon relaxed realising that he wasn't going to ask them anything. They were soon interrupted by Shweta and Shreya and there was no time for anything at all after that. Now he sat there, picking at his food but politely joining in the conversation. She could feel the tension in him. Her mind replayed Vicky's words over and over. He had told her not to judge Milind without giving him a chance to explain. But was she really ready to ask him for an explanation? She sighed and pushed her plate away and murmured an apology for her lack of apetite. She reached for her glass of water and stilled when her hand brushed Milind's. She looked up meeting his unreadable eyes and with a muttered apology, he moved away. She closed her eyes and took a deep breathe to compose herself. Catching Vicky's eye, she managed a small smile.
            Vicky laughed as he clicked away last minute photographs of his family. Anything to keep his mother smiling, he thought fondly. She had looked so distressed and teary eyed that he had felt guilty about leaving home. He put his arm around her, "Come on, Mom, Don't look so upset. You will be coming to India in a couple of months anyway and I will keep visiting frequently", he said.
             Shreya sniffed, "How would you know what it is like when you are not at home?" she said. Vicky sighed feeling guiltier than before.
             Shweta touched his shoulder, "Milind and Prachi would be leaving in a few weeks as well. It is going to be so quiet without you all", she said, looking dangerously close to tears.
             Oh dear, handling his crying mom alone would be hardwork and now his Mausi too! He put his other arm around her, "Don't worry, Mausi. You both are going to be so busy planning my engagement and wedding that the next year will be gone in a jiffy. I want it to be even bigger than Milind's", he winked at her and relaxed as the two women smiled.
             Shreya smacked his head, "You don't have to tell us, Vicky. We will manage all that. Now, after you get back to Chennai, get some work done as well apart from spending time with Pooja", she smiled.
             Vicky grinned sheepishly. Of course, he will get some work done as well…….when he can.
             Shweta laughed at his expression and ruffled his hair. "I have seen that look in Milind's eyes, Vicky. Go on and have fun. And give my love to Pooja", she kissed his forehead and his smile grew wider.
              Vicky looked at his Uncle thoughtfully. Seated in Anand's office, it was hard to believe that he should be at the airport within the next hour. He had been whisked from the emotional family atmosphere to business talks behind Anand's closed office doors in a matter of minutes. Shreya's loud compliants were easily ignored by his Dad and Uncle when they decide to make the detour via their office. Milind too had looked displeased but agreed to meet them at the airport. Vicky nodded in response to Anand's questioning gaze. "I like the idea, Uncle but both Dad and Milind seem to be unimpressed. Are you sure you want me to work on it?" he asked with misgivings. That seemed to be good business venture but if Milind had shown disinterest…….
              Anand smiled, "No pressure, Son. Think it over. Rakesh and Milind didn't dismiss it outright. I think Milind sees no challenge in it. But sometimes, it is good to get involved in a neat and uncomplicated project", he said.
              Rakesh nodded, "No one will be overriding the other's decision, Vicky. This is business. We won't stop you if you want to go ahead with it as Anand also approves", he added.
              Vicky nodded again. "Alright, Dad, give me a couple of weeks, Uncle. For now, I am okay with it. If anything changes, I will let you know" he said and got up.
              It was getting late and the last thing he wanted was his mother and mausi complaining about his carelessness. As Anand and Rakesh continued their discussion, reminding them to meet him near their car, Vicky walked out. He stopped to chat with a few of the staff on his way and his footsteps slowed as he neared Sally's cabin. She was in the middle of a meeting when he had arrived. Had she finished? Wondering to himself, he peered through the half open door. Seeing her busy in conversation over the phone, he walked in and leaned against the door.
             Sally wound up the call with a promise to discuss the business over lunch tomorrow. She turned and her jaw dropped seeing a smiling Vicky. "What the hell are you doing here? I was going to call you shortly and wish you a happy journey. Have you changed your mind about leaving?" she asked with disbelief.
             Vicky grinned and walked towards her, "Yeah, My heart was breaking over the thought of leaving you, my darling", he said naughtily and winked at her.
             Sally's eyebrows rose higher, "What a nerve, Mehra! The first thing I will do after you leave is to get on the phone to Pooja and tell all", she threatened.
             Vicky smirked, "That smug look on your face tells a different story", he teased. Seeing her glare at him, he stepped back, "Alright, I was dragged to the office by dad and uncle enroute to the airport and didn't want to miss the chance to say proper goodbye", he said softly.
             Sally's eyes softened, "I am glad you did, Vicky. It was just like old times being with you all. I am going to miss you", she said.
             Vicky opened his arms, "Same here, Sal. Now come here and give me a proper hug", and engulfed her in a bear hug. Holding her close, he remembered the look on her face at Milind's wedding. What a fool he had been to not have understood! "Oh Sal, I wish I would never have to choose between friendship and family", he murmured almost to himself.
              Moving away, Sally looked at him curiously. "What do you mean, Vicky?" she asked.
              Vicky shook his head and smiled, "Nothing, Sal. Tell me, is your idiot boyfriend back in his senses?" he asked.
              Sally rolled her eyes, "He has called me five times in the last two hours and I am fed up of telling him that he is forgiven. He is too scared to call Prachi but I am sure he will do it sometime today", she said. When Vicky didn't answer, she asked again, "How is Prachi, by the way? She looked very upset last night".
              Vicky looked at her, "I am glad to see that you are worried about her. She cares for you too, you know. It's weird but then WOMEN……..I have given up trying to understand them a long time ago", he said, his eyes speaking volumes.
              Sally's smile froze and she stared at him. When she spoke, her voice trembled, "What did she tell you, Vicky?" she asked harshly.
             "What do you think she told me?" he asked back.
              Sally stayed silent. "No, she wouldn't have", she said. "Not much, anyway", she said again.
              Vicky sighed, "Why didn't you tell me, Sal?" he asked. Sally closed her eyes and remained quiet. He touched her head, "What took you so long to come home, Sal?", he asked, his voice breaking.
               Tears filled Sally's eyes, "I have asked that question to myself a million times, Vicky", she said huskily and moved back when he tried to give her a hug. "So, what would you do if you have to choose between me and her?" she asked.
               Vicky's eyes held hers, "My loyalty is where Milind's heart is and even you know that it rests with Prachi. I have also formed a precious bond with Prachi, Sal. I feel very protective of her", he said softly.
               Sally gave a sad smile, "I understand, Vicky. You actually came here to warn me", she said bitterly.
               Vicky shook his head and put his arm around her, "No Sal, its more of an advice than warning. I can't see either you or Prachi in pain, dear. You both mean a lot to me. But today, I came here to ask you to forgive me, …………for being blind and not seeing what I should have, for being a lousy friend, for not doing enough for you, my friend", he said way too softly.
              Tears rolled down her cheeks as she leaned against him, "I don't blame you, Mehra. I was blind myself and when I could see it all so clearly, it was too late………way too late", she sniffed.
                 Oh god, what a mess! Vicky thought to himself, "I only want you to understand that this will only cause you more heartache. We don't get everything we want in life, Sal. Milind's life is with Prachi and nothing or no one can ever change that. I am not heartless to demand that you forget everything this instant and move on. But just promise me that you would try, for your sake and for everyone's as well", he said.
                Sally moved away from him and wiped her tears, "So, what now? Are you going to tell him?" she asked.
                Vicky gave a small smile, "It's not my position to tell him, Sal and neither Prachi's. And you know better than me that she won't. But one day, you will tell him yourself. You need a proper closure Sal….and Milind too" he said softly. And when that time comes he would be there for his brother. Who else but him knows that the guilt will rip Milind apart?
               Sally stayed silent and he squeezed her hand, "Till then, take care of yourself and be happy. Atleast promise me that you would try", he said.
                 Sally nodded, "TRY……..that has become the motto of my life, Vicky. And I am tired of trying, you know", she said pitifully.
                Vicky closed his eyes, trying to get a grip on himself, "You have your friends to hold your hand, Sal. You have always been a fighter, my friend and I have always adored that about you. Aren't you the only girl who has ever punched me?" he said softly.
                Sally punched his arm, "I loved punching you, you know", she smiled through her tears.
                He smiled at her, "Only because I let you. Just keep up that smile and that spirit, Sal. You will come out of this heartache very soon. Just remember that we all love you and always had", he said and before she could say anything, he squeezed her hand again and walked out of her cabin. Sally slowly walked back to her chair and sat down heavily. She sat there staring at the closed door for a very long time.
             Vicky was relieved to reach the airport well ahead of time and before the rest of his family arrived. Inspite of refusing, the whole family was keen on giving him a proper send off and he was getting restless already. Milind on his own would have been fine to see him off but his mother had been adamant. His ears were ringing with business talks as his Dad and Uncle had discussed nothing but that all the way. He smiled with relief spotting his family walking towards them and waved at them. While his mother started fussing over him again, his Dad was getting restless.         Both he and Anand were due to attend another meeting shortly and their goodbyes were hurried.
              Shreya glared at her husband, "Why did you even bother to come to the airport, Rakesh?", she asked angrily.
               Vicky laughed at the helpless look on his Dad's face and put his arm around his mother, "Mom, don't be too harsh on Dad. He is busy and I have had enough time to say a proper goodbye. But even you and mausi are off to meet friends for dinner. So, you get going and Milind will sort out my checking in", he pacified her.
               Taking cue, Milind started walking towards the VIP check in and within seconds, Vicky joined him. "Gosh, goodbyes are getting longer now-a-days. Where did the good old days go when we just picked up our backpacks and whizzed off?" he sighed.
               Milind gave a small smile, "Unfortunately we have grown up and become more responsible and at the moment I am regretting that more than ever" he said.
               Vicky touched his shoulder and pointed to the coffee shop, "Lets grab a cup", he said and walked towards it.
                Sipping his coffee, Milind leaned against the wall. "So, what was it all about, Vicky? What have I done wrong?" he asked.
                Vicky raised his eyebrows, "So, you know that you have done something wrong. Now that's a start", he said.
               Agitated, Milind ran his fingers through his hair, "She was in a terrible state last night, Vicky. I have never felt so helpless and clueless before. She even said that I had eyes only for Sally last evening", he said.
               "And did you have eyes only for Sally?", Vicky asked casually.
               Milind looked stunned, "What the hell do you mean?", he asked through clenched teeth.
               Vicky touched his shoulder, "Relax, bro. The venue for last night's party was a bad choice from the start. It is always a bad idea to mix the past and the present together, especially bringing wives and ex-girlfriends together in a place which screams of your past. If Mark could react why couldn't Prachi?", he asked.
               Milind sighed, "Is it the dance, Vicky? Was she upset over it?" he asked again.
               "The dance was only one of many things that she was upset about, Milind. You guys did go a bit overboard with that dance though", he said softly.
               Seeing the confused look in Milind's eyes, Vicky continued, "I know Sally is still a close friend, Milind but you seem to have forgotten that she was also your ex-girlfriend. Unfortunately, none of the others present there had forgotten. People talk, you know and Prachi seemed to have heard things", he said.
               Milind's clenched his fist, "What did she hear? Why did she not ask me outright?" he bit out angrily.
                "I think she is scared of what she might hear from you. She is hearing snippets from others and putting together a picture of her own making. It is a dangerous mistake, Milind. No wonder she is utterly shaken. What I don't understand is her fascination with your past with Sally?" Vicky asked.
                  Milind stared at a distance. "But she has always been, Vicky. Even I fail to understand why. One minute she will question me about Sally and then react strongly to whatever I said. That always made me hesitant to discuss it. She had always been insecure about Sally. But I thought our marriage would have settled all that. Now I realise how wrong I had been", he said in a distant voice.
                Vicky shook his head in annoyance, "If Prachi was always that insecure, then you should have been more careful when Sally was around. You should have handled things better, Milind. There is no excuse for that. She is fascinated about your past because you closed up whenever she asked you about it. I am not surprised at all. You are the one at fault here, Milind", he said.
                 Milind stared at him, "What do you want me to tell her, Vicky? Do you want me to give her a day-to-day account of what all happened between us? Don't be ridiculous", he bit out angrily.
                Vicky's eyes flashed, "That attitude is what has got you into big trouble now. She doesn't have to know what you did every minute together, Milind. She needs to know what you felt for Sally and what you feel for her now. That poor girl is a complete mess. She is even wondering if she came between you and Sally….If you would have been happier with her", he said sharply.
                Milind's eyes narrowed into mere slits as anger coursed through him, "Wow, is that what she thinks now? She, of all people, should know me better than that. How wrong I had been?" his voice trembled with suppressed anger. He shrugged off Vicky's hand on his shoulder and leaned closer to him, "So, she thinks that I am still holding a candle for Sally. Am I that sort of a man who would be married to a woman but secretly pinning for another?" he gave a harsh laugh. He gripped Vicky's shoulders, "What a fool I had been, Vicky? A blissfully happy fool! I thought I had the perfect marriage but what a joke. My wife doesn't trust me, never had. My marriage lacks the basic foundation, Vicky, …..TRUST……What am I going to build my life on?" his voice reduced to a mere whisper.
                 Vicky closed his eyes feeling the pain in his voice and for a minute anger gripped him. How could you do this to my brother, Prachi? I can't forgive you for this. He took a deep breathe to calm down and touched Milind's shoulder, "Get a grip over yourself, Milind. Your anger is not wrong but try to put yourself in Prachi's shoes. You must see it from her point of view. She is scared, Milind and confused. Her problem is that she loves you way too much. That is what making her prone to all these insecurities. I think she is way too jealous and possessive of you that she lets herself or you know. You both need to talk it over. Show your anger, question her but also answer her questions. For once, let go of your pride and tell her all that she wants to know and more. It's your marriage, your happiness at stake here, Milind. Sort this out before it wrecks your relationship", he said firmly.
                 Milind stared ahead, "Why, Vicky? Why this? Where did I go wrong?" he asked painfully.
                 Vicky squeezed his shoulder, "You should have seen it coming, Milind. That's where you went wrong", he said softly.
                   Milind gave a sad smile, "Now what, bro? Do you have questions too? If you do, ask me now" he said bitterly.
                   Vicky gave a small smile, "Cut it, bro. I never had to ask you questions, mate. In some ways I know you better than you know yourself", he said softly.
                   Milind's eyes grew moist, "Then why not Prachi? I thought that she was the only one who knew me well as you do", he said.
                   Vicky nodded, "She does, Milind. But this, she is not thinking straight and she needs your help to see it clearly. She wasn't there, remember. She didn't know you then. Whatever you do, just talk to her first. Trust me, by tomorrow morning, you both will realise how silly it all had been" he said calmly.
                   Another announcement indicated that it was time for him to go. He turned to walk towards the gate with a very quiet Milind behind him. Before going through the gate, he turned towards Milind, "You know I have to go now, bro. I will call you tomorrow and I want you to sound better than you do now" he said.
                  Milind nodded and hugged him, "Take care of yourself, bro. I am going to miss you" he said softly.
                  Vicky slapped his back, "Same here, mate. That place is going to feel strange without you. Just come back soon" he said and walked away swiftly.
                   Walking back into the lounge, Shweta's eyes swept the foyer impatiently. What is keeping Milind so long? She wondered silently. She didn't know if Prachi was going home or if Milind had other plans. She was due to meet some friends shortly and would be late if she didn't leave now. She frowned, spotting Milind in one of the corner chairs. Coffee cup in hand, he was staring into a distance obviously lost in thoughts. She walked up to him and laid her hand on his arm. He looked up blankly and her frown deepened.
                   "Milind, what's wrong?" she asked softly, sitting down next to him.
                  Milind gave a dry smile, "Why should anything be wrong, Mom?" he asked back.
                  Shweta smiled, "You are my baby. I know and understand every expression on your face, Milind. You never had to tell me when you were hungry and when you were in pain. I have been watching you all afternoon but didn't want to ask anything in front of others. What's wrong?" she asked again.
                 Milind sighed and took her hand in his. "Mom, have you ever wished that I was different, that I was better?" he asked.
                 Shweta touched his face, "My son is perfect in every way and I love him the way he is. Why would I want him any different?" she asked softly.
                 Milind kissed her hand, "Why doesn't everyone love me the way you do, Mom?" he asked huskily.
                 Shweta smiled again, "Not everyone is your mother, Milind. And everyone else loves you for what you are too. Instead of moping in self pity, go there and talk it out with Prachi", she said.
                 Milind looked surprised, "How do you know it's Prachi?" he asked.
                 Shweta laughed softly, "Neither me nor Anand told you off for anything. Vicky wouldn't do anything to cause you any distress. So, the only other person who holds that power is Prachi. I have been watching her all afternoon too. She doesn't look any better than you do. So, don't waste time sitting here. Every relationship faces small ripples now and then, my child. There is nothing to be disheartened about. All you both need is some time together. Get away from the house for a couple of days. Switch your phone off. We know where to find you if the need arises. Now get up and come with me. I am getting late already", she said firmly. Pulling at his arm, she walked towards the car.

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divvya IF-Dazzler

Joined: 20 January 2008
Posts: 2965

Posted: 31 July 2011 at 4:17pm | IP Logged
Here's Part B

                                                     PART 97 B
                Prachi watched her husband from the corner of her eyes. Tension seemed to eminated from every cell in his body. Waving off his mother and mausi, he had dismissed the driver and drove the car himself. Now seated next to him, she knew that they were not going back to the house but was too nervous to ask him where they were going. He looked grim and Prachi was sure Vicky would have said something.
Silence hung thickly among them, the tension in the atmosphere suffocating. He hadn't looked at her even once and stubbornly kept his eyes on the road but Prachi knew that he was hurting. She knew his body language so well and she fought a desperate need to hold him in her arms and take away the pain in him. She rolled the window down and let the chill breeze in. She leaned back and closed her eyes, her heart thudding heavily in her chest.
                 She woke up with a start and looked around her in surprise. Milind had parked the car and was waiting for her to get out. Wordlessly she did and followed him to the elevator. The private elevator stopped at the top floor and stepping out into the long balcony, she suddenly realised where she was. From that height, the view of the city was beautiful. The afternoon sun shimmered on the murky waters of Thames. So, this was their London flat. She looked at Milind as he opened the door and waited for her to enter. Taking a deep breathe, she stepped in, a familiar feeling lifting her heart.
                 It was her first time there but she felt that she knew the place very well. Wasn't it from here that he used to call her? They used to talk for hours over the phone. In her mind, she had picturised a numerous times the layout, the colour scheme as he had described. For so many nights, she had held on to it, picturing him amidst it all, the way he would talk, smile and move. Taking a deep breathe, she walked into the kitchen and stood still. She could almost hear his voice, his laughter, the bell of the microwave, the sound of the cutlery, the coffee machine, the dishwasher. Oh, how many nights she had spent hearing them; feeling as if she was next to him even though he was miles away from her, even though she was unsure of his feelings then. A sob burst out of her and she whirled around to find Milind leaning against the wall, his unreadable eyes boring right into her.
                 "It's all familiar, isn't it, Prachi?" he asked softly.
                Without a word, she walked past him and into the bedroom. Again the familiarity hit her, the bed, the nightlamp… Their phonecalls used to run well into the night, the sleepiness in his voice in contrast with the breaking dawn in Chennai. Most of the time, it was her who would hang up, chiding him to get some sleep. Wasn't it from here he had confessed his love for her over the phone? She picked up his pillow and held it closer to her chest, lost in the cocoon of his love all around her.
                     His voice cut through her thoughts, "From where I stand, I have no glimpse of my past. Then why are seeing it, Prachi?" he said softly and Prachi closed her eyes.
                     He spoke again. "What do you want to know, Prachi? I am right here and ready to answer all your questions. However it ends, it ends today, Prachi. Go on and ask me", he said, his voice carefully blank of emotions.
                   Prachi looked at him shocked by his direct question. What can she ask him? Where should she start?
                   Misreading her silence, he said bitterly, "Am I not going to get a chance to defend myself against whatever you are accusing me of? Have you pronounced me guilty already?"
                   Prachi shook her head. "No, I am just unsure if I am ready for this", she said in a very low voice.
                   "And that's what has brought us to this, Prachi. Make up your mind. I am waiting", he said harshly.
                   Prachi took a deep breathe, her hands clutching the pillow tightly. "Then tell me, Milind. Tell me everything about you and Sally before I lose my nerve", her voice trembled.
                 "Why do you want to know only about Sally? What about the other girls?" he asked, his eyes fixed on her.
                    "Because we both know that it was only her who meant and still mean a lot to you", she said bitterly.
                  Milind took a deep breathe. How right Vicky was? "You are right, Prachi. But you are seeing it the way you want to see it. That need not be necessarily always right" he said softly.
                  Prachi looked at him, her eyes desperate and hopeful at the same time. "Then help me see it as it was, Milind. Help me….", her voice trailed away into a mere whisper.
                 Milind fought a fierce urge to pull her to him and hold her tight in his arms and take away all the fear and pain in her eyes. If he must bare his soul today, so be it. Anything for her, anything at all…..His pride was nothing in front of his love. He walked slowly to the windows and stared outside at the beautiful view stretching before his eyes.
                "You already know that she was my playmate, a very close friend. My childhood memories are mostly with Vicky, Micky and her. I never treated her any differently because she was a girl. She was just one of us whether it was climbing trees or burrowing holes or doing pretend fights. We used to get into a lot of mischiefs and we would be in eachother's houses most times. She was pampered a lot, both at her home and outside. People just loved her. I cared very much for her and yes, she meant a lot to me. We played together, studied together, grew up together.
                  Then came high school and teenage. Things started to change. Harmones, I guess! I started noticing her as a girl, a beautiful and lively girl. Other boys noticed her too, way too much. That pushed the challenge higher. Before I knew, we became a couple, a hot property at school. Life was fantastic. I had everything, money, status, football, music, looks and a hot girlfriend. What more can a teenage boy ask for?" he asked, his voice sounding distant.
                  Prachi almost crushed the pillow to her chest, "And you became……intimate?", her voice was just a whisper.
                  Milind turned around to look at her, his eyes taking in her taut form. He turned back to stare outside the windows, "Making out, yes but not sex. Not then", he said and Prachi flinched. "I turned sixteen and a taste of freedom came with it. You don't need your parent's signature on every form, you see. A weird sense of being an adult but not quite! Sally's birthday was only two months behind mine. I arranged a party for her at the shack we went to yesterday. Last night, I must say that I was takenaback seeing her dressed like that. She looked very similar to how she was at her birthday party years ago. She always wore her hair straight and long but she had curled it on that party night, just like she had yesterday", he said.
                Prachi stared at him. Is that why he reacted when she walked in? She remembered how Sally looked in the photos she found at the treehouse. If he remembered her so vividly, how special was that party? "So, in that party…………", she struggled unable to phase her question.
                Milind walked towards her, "Yes, Prachi. We didn't dissect pros and cons or make promises of undying love or a lifetime together. Sex was fun, experimental", he said. Prachi flinched again and he closed his eyes, "Sorry, I know it sounds crude. I wouldn't lie to you and say that I didn't enjoy it. Life only became even better. We were all busy thinking of college when Sally's world fell apart. The poor girl was torn, feeling lost and unwanted. She relied heavily on me. She was my friend first and girlfriend next. She needed me and I stood by her. Every day was a torture for her. She was always treated like a princess, in school and everywhere but suddenly people were mocking her, passing rude comments. Life at school became hell. We tried everything we could to protect her, stayed with her at all times. But then a group of young boys and girls are no match for the big bad world. Even before she told me, I knew that she would leave the country and go with her mother. It was the only way out. I accepted her decision without any questions. I stayed with her every possible minute, holding her up as much as I could. She left two weeks before I turned seventeen. But I think she wanted to severe all ties with her past, including me. She moved on with a vengence.
                "Were you angry with her?" she asked softly.
                Milind nodded, "Yes, I didn't realise what her going away would mean. There was so much happening and I was concentrating only on that. I think it hit me only after a couple of days. I suddenly realised that she was actually gone. An integral part of my world had suddenly become void. I missed her and I was very angry with her. I hated feeling that way. It made me weak and I didn't like it. Even when she didn't communicate for days, I pretended that I didn't care. I don't think I fooled my friends though. I snapped at Vicky unnecessarily and wouldn't talk to him. He stayed silent and never questioned me but stayed with me throughout that time. I didn't stay like that for long. If she could move on, I could too and I did. I was Milind Mishra, remember. No one affects me, not even Sally. My first few attempts of dating were disasters. Merin was a bad choice. She was my friend and could only be my friend. Then came other girls. But by then I had become very careful, almost cynical. They were not my friends and they wanted fun. And fun it was, only that though. I played but my game, my rules, no promises, no heartaches. It worked well untill I met you", he stopped talking and a long silence stretched between them.
               "She loved you", said Prachi softly.
               Milind frowned. Was that a question or a statement? He nodded, "Yes, but I knew about it only recently. I can't tell you how ashamed I felt, Prachi. How guilty I was. All those years I didn't know, didn't suspect or didn't care. How much my indifference would have hurt her? And I thought that she didn't care", he said softly.
                Prachi looked at him, her eyes brimming with tears. "Did you love her, Milind?" she asked slowly.
                Milind sat down and stayed silent for several seconds. "There was a time when I wondered if I was. If that was why I was so miserable? But I didn't ponder over it. Of course I cared for her a lot, still do. But I moved on, Prachi, very quickly. It didn't make me want to follow her to the States and bring her back. Though angry, I was also glad that she was moving on, leaving her painful days behind. I told you that you are the only one I have ever loved, Prachi. You didn't believe me, did you? Did you think I lied to you?", he asked, pain evident in his voice.
                 Prachi shook her head, "I never doubted that Milind but I wondered if you didn't realise the strength of your feelings for Sally. If it was too late by the time she came back, if things would have different if you hadn't met me in Ooty", she said pitifully, her voice breaking down.
                 Milind looked at her, "You don't know how I was before I met you, Prachi. However I was, I was not a coward or a liar. Did you really think that I could be that unsure of my feelings for you? Could I have thought about any other woman when I was with you? Do you really think that I could be such a lowlife, Prachi?" he asked bitterly.
                Shocked to the core, Prachi cried, "No, Milind, No…."
                 He stood up and moved back, "I never cared much for the women I dated. I could have had any woman I found attractive, anytime. When I met you in Ooty, I knew I was attracted to you but I also knew that you were different from the ones I knew. Not only because of the culture you were brought up in, you are that kind of person. Your innocence and trust in me was something I had trouble handling. It stirred a lot of emotions in me, completely new and I called it friendship. It was safe. When I left India, it was also a relief that I was pulling away from you. It would give me the time to clear my head. Work was a welcome distraction. But it didn't keep me away from you for long. I used to cherish those late night phonecalls. I have felt you in this place, Prachi, felt you with me and I knew I was losing myself. It scared me and I fought it. I was so jealous of Neev, you know. I was even jealous of your father. I wanted to be the only one who meant everything to you. And I fought my feelings only harder. Then Sally came back. It was awkward at first, meeting her after years but then our friendship went back years. Within minutes, I was back being comfortable with her. It was as if those years apart didn't exist. When she arranged the evening at the club, I knew exactly what I was getting into and I went along willingly. She was single and interested. I was single too or so I thought. If everything had gone on well, we would have ended up in her flat, in her bed and who knows, we might have picked up where we left years ago", he said in a matter of fact voice and Prachi closed her eyes shut, fighting her imagination.
               Milind watched the play of emotions on her face and his voice softened, "Look at me, Prachi", he said softly and Prachi obeyed, her eyes pained. "It didn't happen that way. I had already fallen in love with you. I told you that it hit me on that dance floor. Sally's coming back didn't make any difference, Prachi. You wanted to know if you had come between me and Sally. But she was nowhere there. I can't even relate to my feelings for her years ago. Whatever it was, it finished a long time ago. Love for me is what I feel for you, Prachi. Love is what turned my world upside down, changed my view on a lot of things, made me ready to give up anything for one smile on your face, made me both strong and weak in front of you. That's what love is for me and that I have felt it only for you. I am incapable of loving another woman, Prachi. It starts and ends with you. You define me", his voice reduced to a low whisper.
               His words rocked the very core of her. Anger and shame filled inside her and silent sobs raked her body. Milind continued, "Why all this, Prachi? What brought in this mistrust? Or is it how it was all along?", he asked in a heavy voice.
                "Mil..ind", Prachi's voice broke and struggled to answer him, "It's not that I didn't trust you. I always have and always will. But I just couldn't help comparing me and her. She was there first, you see and she is better than me in every aspect". She stopped him when he tried to interrupt. "Whatever you say, I know it within myself, Milind. That's why it was always a losing battle. Especially after our marriage, I saw more of her, heard a lot about her….from everyone at home and outside, saw how close you both were…..still. Everyone said how perfect you were together. I couldn't help feeling……….", she broke down unable to continue.
                  Milind raked his fingers through his hair feeling terrible, "Vicky was right. I am at fault here, Prachi. I had been so blind to your feelings, to your pain. I just expected you to understand me but never helped you to. I became defensive whenever you spoke about Sally. But believe me, it wasn't because I harboured any hidden feelings for her. Now, yesterday's dance seems wrong. But holding her in my arms didn't stir any forgotten desires, Prachi. You say you can't help but compare you with her. I can do that too. I am not jealous when I see her with Mark. It only makes me happy. I am glad she found someone. I am guilty of causing her pain and seeing her happy soothes it. But you, Prachi……If any other man even looks at you longer than necessary, I would gorge his eyes out. You are mine and only you can stir the love and passion in me. When I come into your arms, I feel that I have come home. Loving you is as involuntary as breathing, Prachi", his voice was heavy.
             Prachi closed her eyes, his words easing every pain inside her. Loving him is involuntary to her as well. If he felt that guilty knowing that Sally had loved him, how much would he hurt knowing that she still does? His voice broke her thoughts again.
               "What happened yesterday, Prachi? Please be honest. What did I do?" he asked.
                Prachi swallowed, "You didn't do anything, Milind. It was the circumstances, one after the other and I couldn't handle it", she said. Seeing him frown in confusion, she attempted a small smile, "You know how distressed I was after that dinner party the other night. I felt so incompetent in front of Sally and my self-confidence was almost non-existent. Then you were angry with me", she stopped.
                Milind moved towards her hurriedly. "There was no competition, Prachi. There was never. I knew you put your heart into the arrangements. The mistake you made could have been easily corrected", he reasoned.
                 Prachi nodded, "I know that now, Milind. But I was so worked up to think straight. And I was feeling really low yesterday. Then I saw some photos……in the treehouse..of you and Sally, of her 16th birthday party", she said slowly.
                  Understanding dawned on Milind and he looked stunned. Prachi looked at him, "It shook me terribly, seeing you and her together. It was as if your past was unfolding right in front of my eyes. Then Vicky's party…seeing you and Sally together...hearing your friends say how good you had been together……I just couldn't handle it, Milind. I am sorry", tears rolled down her cheeks.
                  "I should be the one to appologise, Prachi. Oh god, what a mess!", he sighed helplessly.
                  "I also found a bracelet, the one Sally gifted you", Prachi said softly. It was amazing how easily everything was tumbling out. Once started, she just couldn't stop or didn't want to.
                  "What about that?", asked Milind confused. Now where was this leading?
                  "You wore that for a long time, didn't you? And you don't like wearing any jewellery", her voice rose higher.
                  Milind swore, disbelief in his eyes, "My god, Prachi! It was a gift, for god's sake. She borrowed the money from her Dad to buy it and paid it off with a summer job at the office after she turned sixteen. It was the feeling behind the gift that matters. She didn't need to be my girlfriend. I would have worn it even if she was just a friend. Come on, Prachi, have you never done anything for your friends just to see them happy, even though you would have preferred not to?" he asked, his raised voice matching hers.
                 Prachi stayed silent. Put it that way, her anger felt stupid, baseless. She had done a lot of things for her friends, given to Lisa's whims just to see her happy smile and for Neev, the list is endless. Didn't she share the plate of food with him on that night before her wedding? Was there any explanation to it? All she knew was that it meant a lot to him and in a strange way, to her as well. But still there was just no explanation.
                Her silence angered him more, "What else, Prachi? Go on and get it all out. As I said, it ends today", he said harshly.
                Prachi met his eyes. "Did…..did you quit smoking for her?" she asked slowly.
                  Milind just stared at her. Where did she hear all this? "It makes her sick. She can't stand it. It wasn't hard to choose a kiss over a fag especially when you spend the whole day with your girlfriend. So, I never smoked when I was with her. But I didn't quit. I had just started and it was fun. I told you that I have done a lot of things in that treehouse. Away from the mainhouse, it was the safest place. It was usually with Vicky and we used to look out for eachother. It was in the garden and anyone could walk in. But that evening, I was on my own in my room. Mom and Dad were out and I was feeling brave or stupid, I should say. I smoked in my room and thought I would get rid of the smell before they come home. But then Mom walked in and I was caught red-handed. I waited for her to freak out but she didn't say a word. She didn't look angry but very very hurt and she just turned around and walked out. I never felt that ashamed in my life before, Prachi. I expected her to tell Dad about it and was waiting for a severe telling off during dinner but she didn't. She never did. After that I just couldn't bring myself to pick up a cigerrette. All I saw was her eyes full of hurt. I never smoked after that. I didn't plan to quit. It just happened. Vicky knew and I am sure Mom noticed. She never asked and I never said. It was as if the incident never happened and I would have done anything to make sure that it never happened again", he said, his voice thick with emotions.
                Prachi closed her eyes, suddenly feeling very tired. How much more explanations does she need? And he was answering every one of her questions. What more does she need to know now?
                  As if reading here thoughts, he said, "What else do you need to know, Prachi? I may not have spoken about Sally in detail but you already knew most of what I told you. I should have understood how you felt. I should never have let things get to this extreme. I can't see you in pain, my love. It hurts, Prachi, more than I could ever explain. And to know that I have caused it……", he broke off, angry with himself. "Lastnight was punishment enough, Prachi. But if you think I deserve more, then go on. So, where do we go from here?", he asked heavily.     
                Prachi looked at him as if all fight had drained out of her. "I thought hurting you back would ease my pain but I was wrong. I should have known that by now, shouldn't I? I wasn't thinking straight, Milind. I was too wedged in your past, which I now know is one of my own making. I was jealous, angry and I hurt you. I am sorry. I only wish you have told me all this earlier. It would have made things easier. Or I should have had the nerve to ask you. I am sorry", she said in a broken voice.
                Milind walked closer to her and she sighed when he touched the side of her face. "I am sorry too, Prachi. Forgive me if you can and I won't blame you if you don't. I know you deserve someone better. I can't rewrite my past, Prachi. I wish I could but I am who I am. Just take me as I am. Love me for who I am", he said huskily.
             Prachi gave a teary smile, "You idiot, here I am, crazily in love with you, so jealous and posessive of you that I can't even bear to think someone in your past could have meant so much to you. I am not content with being your present and future but want to stake my claim on your past too. I want to be the only one in your life, all your life. That's what makes me scared, vulnerable. And you think I deserve someone better. Who else than you, Milind? Who else I could love, but you?" she said softly.
              "I want you to be strong in my love, sweetheart, not scared or vulnerable. Just remember that you are the only one, Prachi and there was no other and will never be. This I promise you", he said fiercely.
                Tears rolled down Prachi's cheeks as her eyes searched his. As Vicky said, her husband was not a callous man to have had no feelings for the girl he knew all his life, his close friend. In her heart, she too had always known that. He had come so close to loving Sally but not quite. He might have been happier with Sally but fate had other plans. He was destined to be hers and only hers. She had put together a story of his past but only today she saw the real picture. Sally's Milind was long gone and this was her Milind, her husband, her lover, her friend and the man she trusted, respected and loved more than anyone could ever fathom. Her hand closed on his, her eyes looking into his. If she could see a part of her in them, a part of him resides in her too. His love defined her very soul and in him, her dreams began and ended. She smiled, a slow, content smile in the knowledge that her heart lay entrapped in the nest of his love and if one thread breaks, another one forms in its wake, bringing new promises for tomorrow.

The following 38 member(s) liked the above post:


soni4eva IF-Rockerz

Joined: 04 November 2010
Posts: 8258

Posted: 31 July 2011 at 5:53pm | IP Logged
awsome update 
fanx 4 da pm n da updates
finlly dey sorted der problems x
sam78 Goldie

Joined: 05 October 2006
Posts: 2211

Posted: 31 July 2011 at 7:33pm | IP Logged
Hey Divya.
How are you feeling? Sorry that you are not feeling well.
You should not worry about the update. Your health comes first.
now coming back to the updates.
They are wow, wonderful, and awesome.
I loved the Part B.  Every emotions you have portray for milind and prachi was just beautifually written.
Vicky was somepoint angry at prachi.
Milind and Prachi's misunderstanding is clear up that great. so their will be more romance coming in the next updates.
Love the mother and son scene both,vicky and milind.
Vicky and Sally talk was great as well.
I loved it very much.
Take care.
Thanks you for two wonderful updates. hope to see you soon.
puth IF-Dazzler

Joined: 22 February 2010
Posts: 3742

Posted: 31 July 2011 at 8:53pm | IP Logged
hey divya hope you are dng good now...
Loved all the discussions between vicky-sally,vicky-milind,milind and his mom,milind and prachi...
hope prachi wont lose her confidence again and bring milind's past again...
communication is very essential in very aspect of a relationship...
ytanuja IF-Dazzler

Joined: 04 August 2007
Posts: 4341

Posted: 31 July 2011 at 10:50pm | IP Logged
Hei Divya dear how r u? we miss u hun, what's wrong with ur health,r u feeling better now,

Thank u so much for double long treat, it was amazing updates, will get back in detail very soon.

Take care.
nivedha84 IF-Dazzler

Joined: 21 June 2009
Posts: 4696

Posted: 31 July 2011 at 11:11pm | IP Logged
Hello Divya first and formost a tightest HUG from meHugHug
hope ur health is improving Unhappyand iam praying hard that u comebak to ur normal self ASAP and whatever is troubling u i sincierly pray to GOD that it all MELTSDOWN as snow and things come back to normal and more blissfull it was B4 things went wrongHugHeart
Now coming to the UPDTES it was BRILLIANT,XCELLENT and JUST WOW ,i still cant beleiv iam reading TFOP new  update and all my disappointments/sadness and kind of frustration not rwading the updates r gone and the feeling is still sinking in,sighhhEmbarrassed
97 A i felt most of this part as a filler update as i was so desperate to know what happens btw MiChi and nothing registered while reading the update untill vicky -sall talk in the office and the warning he gave to milind abt what is the reason behind his wifes sudden change of behaviiour towards him lastnite,u know divya i wonder if vicky dint give this warning will milind be able to letgo off his pride and will he be ready to give  all the answers to prachi or it would be worseStern Smilei wonder
97B Here comes the BIGGIEDancing i know i should nt be dancing but iam glad my love birds r back in track in the next update so cant hide my feelings LOLhmm what can i say abt  the memories of those good old GOLDEN days i mean those phone conversations and the way u wrote those details were FABStarStarStar its btw milind and prachi but only now we readers came to know abt thisHeart
So prachi was still not ready to ask him the obviousShocked thanx to milind he wants to sort it out everything ,is int it wierd we all know  most of the things said by Milind b4 hand itself but from sally version and it was so ugly and heart breaking but the same things were said by milind  and i dont feel that hurt /prick which i use to have b4 why was that?He just pored his heartout and the way he was asking her ,anything more u wanna ask ans the way orachi coming out one by one with her Qs i was like enough prachi dont do this,put an end to his miseries no more Qs pls(but i wanted her to ask all the Qs and wanted her to tell where it all started but then somethings r better left unsaid)
Why would milind feel guilty if sally still loves him,its not his fault that she loves him ErmmAtlast prachi said those words sh e want to have a claim in his past too Thumbs Upshe is not  contnet with being with him in the present and futurPartyDancing
i was so mad at milind for giving so much pain for prachi unnowingly but all my anger/madness went down the moment i read these lines
 I am incapable of loving another woman, Prachi. It starts and ends with you. You define me",
 When I come into your arms, I feel that I have come home. Loving you is as involuntary as breathing, Prachi", My fav lines in this updateDay Dreaming
i better stop now ,i have so much to say abt the update i'll edit it after i read it another 2 /3 times hehehehe
btw divya am i missing something here milind said that sally went thru a bad phase b4 college and why did she moved bak to US with her MOM ,i have very bad memory abt sallys storyROFLis it bcoz of their parents divorce ,iam clueless any ways thanx divya for this DOUBLE DHAMAKAHug

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Asmi2013 IF-Dazzler

Joined: 25 February 2008
Posts: 4210

Posted: 01 August 2011 at 12:08am | IP Logged

Divya : A Big Thank you for double updates.  Take care dear.


Your updates are always been fabulous ……  this time again loved each n every line…… was so perfect…….nothing better can be asked than this……..well done!!!!!!!!!!!!


Loved Vicky-sal convo……..and Michi convo (so many most required questions & ans) was just PERFECT …..just like our MICHI.  Just one thing I wanted Milind to know the fact that Sal still loves him n not Mark.  Byt what happened with sal when she left milind………why people passing rude comments or mocking….i didn't get that part….did I miss something?


Thx once again…..and take care of your health.

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