'Tea! Do you want me to make you some tea?!' Viren blinked at the total random-ness of Nivi's question and felt a crazy urge to laugh at their situation as he suddenly wondered if Nivi was maybe feeling the same way he was; she looked just as confused as he felt... He felt a small sense of relief wash over him, thinking at least there was a possibility he wasn't alone in this madness and maybe he could figure it out later when he had some time to think about it.
He shook his head and smiled softly as he said, 'It's ok Moti, I can wait a little longer to try your famous tea.' Nivi shrugged, feeling relieved as well and said, 'Your loss.' She was glad that Viren had lightened the mood a little; she didn't know what was wrong with her and why she was feeling like this. She remembered how safe she'd felt when he'd hugged her earlier and tried to push it out of her mind hoping it was dark enough that he couldn't see her blushing.
Nivi decided to take the conversation to a safer topic and asked Viren if he'd decided anything about getting a job and Viren told her he definitely didn't want to go into their construction business but had seen a few vacancies he might apply for. He was telling her about an advertising job that looked interesting when Nivi yawned and Viren laughed quietly and said, 'Am I boring you Nivi?!'
Nivi laughed a little sleepily, thinking he couldn't be further from the truth, 'Aisi koi baat nahi hai Viren, it's just been such a long day...' Viren told her to go to bed and he'd stay there but Nivi shook her head stubbornly saying, 'Nahi, I'm staying right here with you till the end!' She was still in her blanket and she leaned sideways on some cushions as she suddenly thought of something else she wanted to know.
Maybe it was only because she was half asleep that she'd remembered it but since Viren had come back to Shimla, she'd wondered about it a couple of times. She yawned again before saying, 'Viren, why didn't you say bye?' Viren was confused but before he could ask, she said 'I mean when you left Shimla to go to boarding school, you never said bye...it's fuzzy but all I remember is we came home from school one day and you were just gone,' she felt a little sad as she thought about it and remembered crying and telling Dadi that she'd never speak to him again. She looked at Viren but her eyes felt heavy and she couldn't tell what he was thinking; she forced herself to stay awake because she wanted to hear his reply.
Viren was surprised at the question and he actually couldn't remember why as he tried to think back all those years. 'Pata nahi? They only told me the day before and I guess I didn't want you to be as upset as I was...' he vaguely remembered not wanting to make her cry and then suddenly he remembered something he couldn't believe he'd forgotten and sat up straight, 'But I left you a note!! I totally forgot... pata bhi nahi maine uss mein kya lika tha!' He tried to remember now but it was too hazy, he wondered what she'd done with it and how he'd forgotten about it.
Nivi smiled sleepily into a cushion as she only just remembered Viren's note, she'd forgotten about it too and couldn't remember what it had said now either, she'd put it away somewhere with a load of childhood things and had never looked at it since. How could she have forgotten?! She wanted to go and find it and read it right now but she was too tired; she'd look for it in the morning... She heard Viren say 'Nivedita?' and said sleepily, 'Thanks Viren...for reminding me; main bhi bhool gayi thi. And thanks for waiting behind with me today...and for staying with me all this time...I'm glad you stayed...' her voice drifted off as she fell asleep.
As he watched Nivi fall asleep, Viren smiled at her list of thank you's. She was leaning on a pile of cushions; half sitting almost and he wondered if he should wake her up or just carry her into her room himself. In the end he decided to do neither but he went over and moved some cushions before putting an arm under her carefully and laying her down so she was sleeping rather than sitting. Nivi barely stirred as he moved her and Viren sat down on the floor next to her and watched her sleep for a while feeling his breath catch in his throat at how beautiful and peaceful she looked.
He felt an odd calmness settle over him as he watched her and things became clear to him in that instant; earlier it had felt like the world was shifting out of place but now he realised it was just him who'd had his eyes opened. He brushed some hair off Nivi's face and knew he'd been fooling himself all evening because the simple truth was that he loved her; how could he not?! He'd never met anyone like her ever since he'd first known her; she was sweet and thoughtful and stubborn and annoying all at once, no-one affected him like she did and it felt like he'd known it all along but just hadn't wanted to admit it to himself.
Viren felt almost detached from his body as he watched her sleeping and tried to remember when it had happened; the exact moment he'd fallen in love with her...was it really only that evening or had it been when she'd sat in the moonlight drawing him that night? Or when she'd looked up at him as he put a flower in her hair...or maybe it had been when he'd seen only her eyes through his helmet that first morning?
He realised he didn't know when but now he thought maybe it had always been there underneath everything else. He blinked suddenly and noticed it was silent outside; the storm had ended but as he looked at Nivi, Viren felt like it was only just beginning really. He had no idea how she felt except that he was her friend...how would this change their friendship which he'd grown so attached to? He shook his head not wanting to think about it; he needed to decide what to do next first. He pulled Nivi's blanket up and tucked it around her gently, watching as she curled her fingers around the edge of it in her sleep.
She had a sweet smile on her face now as she slept and he couldn't stop himself from brushing her cheek with his fingers. He felt his heartbeat pick up as she shivered a little and tightened the blanket around herself and he made himself get up and go back to the other sofa, He knew he should probably go home now but he couldn't leave her so he lay down under his blanket and watched her for a long time till he fell asleep still trying to remember when he'd fallen in love with his best friend.
Edited by anjaani07 - 06 June 2011 at 11:42am