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Tum Kaun Ho?
A Maaneet Fan Fic
Feb. 14, 2011 6:27 pm
Maan and Geet had been sitting in the car in silence for the last twenty minutes. Maan had decided to drive them himself, so they were alone in the car. As soon as the car was out of view of the mansion, Geet angrily asked why Maan hadn't come up with an excuse to not go. Maan immediately asked her the same question. Geet said that she tried but Dadi wouldn't accept, and Maan confirmed that he had the same problem. Geet then complained that he must not have tried hard enough, and a quarrel ensued. Finally Maan told Geet that if she couldn't do anything but fight with him, then she should keep quiet, after all, they were stuck with each other for the rest of the night.
After that, Geet didn't say a word. She sat silent in the passenger's seat while Maan drove them south, towards downtown Chicago. Maan was enjoying the quiet and peace that came with Geet's silence. Geet was finding it to be torture. Without the distraction of an argument, Geet had nothing to occupy her mind and keep her thoughts from dwelling on the man she was sitting next to. She tried to force herself to look away from Maan and out into the dark beyond her window. It was too difficult, and time after time she caught herself staring at his hands as the gripped the car wheel, or the profile of his face when he turned his head back and forth. She sighed, looking down at her hands, wondering how she would get through the evening with out showing her feelings and embarrassing herself.
Though Maan was definitely enjoying the silence over their argument, just like Geet, he was having trouble ignoring the person sitting next to him. He could hardly believe that the beautiful girl who was siting next to him, twisting her hands at the moment, was the same person whose presence he ignored for more than a year. This was not JD's nanny and his assistant, this was some exotic princess that he was taking out for a dinner date. Yes, it was a fake date, but none the less, a date. Thinking these thoughts, he remembered that Dadi had put something in his pocket, when she had been speaking of dates. He had forgotten, and now that he remembered, it wasn't a good time to try and find out what it was. He was a little afraid to find out, and he certainly didn't want to check his pocket in front of Geet, in case it was something that would embarrass both of them. He would just have to wait until he was alone.
As they turned from State onto Hubbard, Geet chirped, "We're here."
Maan rolled his eyes and answered, "I can see that." He pulled the car up to the sign for valet parking and turned off the engine.
Getting out of the car, he gave the key to the valet and walked around to open the door so Geet could exit also. Their silence continued as they walked the few feet down the sidewalk towards the red door that proclaimed the entrance to Vermilion. When Maan reached out to open the door, he saw Geet draw back slightly, and she seemed ill-at-ease with the typical gentlemanly behavior. It made him wonder if she had ever dated anyone before. As Geet walked into the restaurant ahead of him, Maan realized that he barely knew anything about her. Maybe tonight would be a good opportunity to find out more.
Coming inside and taking a look around, as well as hearing the music playing in the background, Maan groaned, "I should have known. Indian! If Dadi made the reservations, what else could it be?"
"Maan, don't make a scene," requested Geet in a whisper.
"I don't like eating Indian, if I can help it."
"I know, but it won't kill you. Of course, you can always tell Dadi that you didn't like her choice of restaurant and that we decided not to enjoy her plans."
Maan glared at Geet, because she knew he couldn't do any such thing. Putting his hand on her back, Maan guided her up to the front desk. There was a couple ahead of them, so they had to wait. It didn't take too long and then the receptionist was asking how they could be helped.
"Reservation for Khurana," responded Maan.
"Oh, yes Sir, we have a nice private table arranged for you. Please follow me."
Feb. 14, 2011 6:40 pm
The waiter had just returned and was taking their order. Geet had gone first. She was animatedly telling what she wanted, and Maan wondered if she really was going to eat everything that she ordered.
"...and I want coconut rice and tamarind chutney and mango mint lassi."
"All right, Ma'am. And you, Sir?" The waiter looked at Maan expectantly.
"I'll have the Chimichurri New York Strip."
"And what would you like to drink?" Before Maan could answer, Geet made a noise in her throat and indicated to him that she wanting to say something to him.
"What?" asked Maan.
Geet motioned him to come closer, and when he did she whispered, "If you drink anything alcoholic I will take great pleasure in telling Dadi." When Maan glared in response, she said, "Just a friendly warning."
Continuing to glare at Geet, Maan told the waiter that he would have a pineapple grapefruit juice combo. The waiter asked if they wanted to order desert, but they decided to wait until later. When the waiter left, they were alone once again. Maan was still smarting from Geet's threat about the alcohol, scowling something fierce. Geet withstood his silent gaze for a minute or so, before excusing herself to go to the restroom. Maan watched Geet's retreating back as she disappeared, clearly in search of an escape from him, and wondered what kind of date Dadi had forced him into.
Dadi! Thinking of her reminded him that he had yet to find out what she put in his pocket. As Geet was gone at the moment, it was a perfect time to find out. He put his hand inside his pocket cautiously, and felt a small object. Pulling it out he saw it was a small box with a note on top. He opened the note and began reading.
Maan, I trust you will know what this is for. Going down on one knee is always a good idea.
Maan opened the box and saw something that shocked him, even after having read Dadi's note. The Khurana family's engagement ring, the heirloom that had been passed down from generation to generation for more than a hundred years. It was always given to the eldest bahu of the particular generation, but he was still surprised that Dadi had given it to him. When he had been ready to propose to Sameera, both she and Dada had been firm that they would only allow him to give her the ring as part of a traditional Indian Ring Ceremony. That was why he had bought Sameera the ring he was going to give her that fateful day. What was is that made Dadi give it to him now? What was it about Geet that made Dadi so desperate for them to be together that she gave him this, expecting him to propose?
"Maan? Maan Khurana?"
Maan quickly closed the box and shoved it and the note back in his pocket as he heard his name being called. Turing around he saw an older woman coming toward him, who looked vaguely familiar. He stood up as she came near the table.
"It is Maan Khurana, right? I'm Khanika Rangwala, a friend of Savitri. Maybe you don't remember me."
"No, Aunty, I remember. How are you?"
"I'm well. What..."
At this point Geet had returned to their table, but paused behind Khanika, as she was blocking her way. Maan noticed her and introduced both the women to each other. Khanika was very happy to meet Geet.
"So this is the Geet that Savitri has been telling us all so much about. It's so nice to finally meet you. And you're so pretty, it's no wonder that you captured Maan's attention." Khanika patted Geet's cheek, who smiled uncomfortably at the complement, while Maan just turned his head away a bit embarrassed.
"Well, I'm sure you both are anxious to spend your evening alone, so I'll leave now, but if you feel like having some company, my husband and I are sitting right over there."
After saying good bye, Khanika walked away and sat down at her own table. She pointed towards them and Maan saw her husband turn around and give them a look. As Maan helped Geet back into her seat, she could tell he was a bit disturbed.
"Maan, what's wrong?"
"I was hoping that we would be able to just eat and leave, but now..."
"With Khanika Aunty here, we'll have to look like we're enjoying ourselves. I'm sure she'll tell Dadi that she saw us here, and if she notices anything odd, won't hesitate to tell that too."
Feb. 14, 2011 7:03 pm
The waiter brought their food and began to place it on their table. Maan's order came on only two plates. Geet's came on two large plates, a smaller plate, and two medium sized bowls. Once again Maan could not believe that she was going to eat all that food. He waited until the waiter left to question her.
"Geet, are you actually going to eat all this?"
"Maybe," was her reply, "but if I don't, it won't go to waste. Whatever I don't finish, you will."
"What? No I won't."
"Oh, really! Wasn't it you who said that Aunty will tell Dadi anything odd that happens? How will it look if you leave my food when I'm supposed to be your girlfriend?"
"But that's so unhygienic," complained Maan. Geet just stared at him, and Maan knew that he was caught by his own words. He would have to finish her food, if he didn't want Dadi to hear about it.
"Fine, if you expect me to eat your leftovers, then the least you could do would be to entertain me."
"Entertain you how," asked Geet nervously.
"Talk to me. Tell me something about yourself."
"I don't know. Something about your family, your parents, brothers, sisters, etc." Maan looked up when he heard the clank of silverware, to see Geet's face had lost all its color.
He was just about to ask if something was wrong, when she said in a choked voice, "I don't talk about my family."
"I don't talk about my family," she repeated stonily.
"Okay," thought Maan, "obviously her family is a sore point." He thought for a moment, then said, "So, you went to Chicago University. Tell me what you majored in."
Coming back to her normal self, Geet told him that she majored in Computer Science, and this led to a lengthy conversation. Maan naturally wanted to know why she chose that field, and eventually that led to a discussion of what other subjects she had taken. Maan learned that Geet met her best friend Pinky when she was looking for a tutor to help her with her Hindi classes. Maan smartly stayed away from asking why she couldn't get help from someone in her family, and they both had a very enjoyable discussion throughout dinner.
Feb. 14, 2011 7:58 pm
"Maan, I don't want to dance," Geet whispered, as he guided her up the stairs to the floor where they had been informed there was live music for customers who wished to dance after dinner.
"Well, with our dinner finished, we have to do something else to pass the time. You know Dadi will be expecting us to stay out late, and I don't know about you but I don't feel like trying to go elsewhere. Come on, it will be fun, that is, it will if you don't step on my feet."
Remembering the last time they had danced and how she had eventually escaped, Geet's face lit up with hope. Maan saw it and was quick to say, "Don't even think about it. Even if you do step on my toes, I will not let you get away, and I will also think of a way to punish you."
Geet muttered, "Dusht danaav," under her breath, but Maan just laughed as he pulled her into his arms as they started to dance.
Feb. 14, 2011 9:15 pm
Maan and Geet had been dancing non stop for over an hour. Amazingly, they both had a wonderful time. Geet discovered that Maan was an excellent dancer, and Maan found out that Geet was capable of following even the most complicated moves. A slow song was playing at the moment, and Geet, being slightly tired, had placed her head on Maan's shoulder, in what felt like a natural gesture to them both.
They swayed slowly back and forth, becoming so engrossed in the soft music and the feel of each other, that the rest of the room faded away. Their arms slowly wrapped more tightly around one another, and their movements gradually became slower, until they stopped altogether. Maan moved his hand so that his fingers were under Geet's chin, gently forcing her face upward. When her eyes met his, he couldn't hold himself back. He leaned down the slight distance, and touched his lips to hers, gently at first, silently asking permission, and then stronger as he felt Geet respond.
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So, the date isn't over yet, but it was taking me too long, so I thought I would end here, and finish up in the next chapter.
Vermilion is a real restaurant in Chicago, but I should tell you two things. 1) I have never been to this place (too expensive, and I don't live in Chicago), so everything that I found out about it was from searching on the web. 2) Although it seems like a nice place, there were/are a few things that the restaurant doesn't have that I wanted to include in my story, so I took some creative license and made some stuff up.
Check out Vermilion's Website to know more.
Check out the Chef's Name here, to know why I had to use this restaurant, instead another one, or making one up. You can also see some pictures.
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