'Need some help?' Nivi jumped and dropped the jar of loose tea she was trying to open when she heard Viren's voice just behind her. It fell onto the counter and she grabbed it just before it could roll off. 'Umm no thanks, I'll manage..' Viren stood and watched with folded arms as Nivi tried her best but the jar still wasn't opening. He shook his head and held out his hand sighing, 'Give it here Nivi.' Nivi passed it to him wordlessly and then rolled her eyes when he opened it in a few seconds and handed it back saying, 'You're welcome!' with a big grin.
Nivi shook her head at Viren, forgetting everything else except how it always annoyed her when he gave her that smug look, 'I could have done it!' Viren started laughing, 'I'm sure you could have Moti...but they probably want their tea tonight and not next week?!' Nivi wondered how someone look so sweet and still be so annoying at the same time as she took a deep breath and said, 'Thanks for your help Viren but stop distracting me or you might find there's salt in your tea instead of sugar!' Viren laughed and said he didn't feel like tea anyway and then Nivi started feeling a little self conscious again as he just stood back and watched her work.
Viren leaned against a counter and watched Nivi quietly and after a few minutes she stopped what she was doing and went over to the other side of the kitchen before coming back and handing him a folded up piece of paper, 'I brought this from my room with the sketches.' She carried on making the tea as Viren opened the up the paper and saw it was his note. He read it and felt a smile spread across his face at his childish words. He remembered writing it and knew he'd been really upset but now the memories weren't as painful, just bitter-sweet.
He suddenly remembered feeling the need to come back to Shimla without knowing why and as he re-read the note he thought maybe it was his promise to come back and see her one day that had brought him back. He smiled again, feeling glad that he'd listened to the pull. 'Why did you shout at me the day before Viren?' Viren was pulled out of his thoughts by Nivi's question and he saw she'd turned around to look at him with a curious look on her face. She obviously hadn't remembered and he started laughing.
'Nivi, can't you remember?! You kept insisting you didn't need help and could learn how to ride the bike on your own and then you fell and scraped both your knees and elbows!' He'd been so angry at her and she'd been as stubborn as hell even then. 'Then you wouldn't let me tell Dadi so I had to sneak out plasters and stuff for you but she found out anyway cos you cried so much when I put them on!' He shook his head and Nivi laughed too as the memories came back with his words, 'Haan, mujhe yaad aaya...wow kitni ziddi thi main...' She looked at his expression and held up a hand, 'Don't say it Viren; I'm not that bad now!!' Viren just shrugged and they both laughed again and Nivi turned back.
She started putting everything onto a tray to take out and Viren put the note in his pocket and said he was glad Sid had been there to show her how to ride her bike at least and he was surprised when Nivi replied. 'Actually... I never learnt.' When he asked why, she said 'I umm, didn't have the time..' He knew something wasn't right from her tone so he went and stood right next to her as she spooned some sugar into a small bowl on the tray. 'Tell me the truth Nivi, why didn't you learn?' He looked at her curiously; she wasn't looking at him at all.
It felt like Viren was standing too close to her and Nivi felt her hands shake as she scooped out sugar slowly; she looked down and tried to say lightly, 'Kuch nahi Viren, I was just silly; I kept saying I'd wait for you to show me when you came back...' She'd forgotten till then that she'd done that, she'd even forgotten about the bike till he'd reminded her, but now she could clearly see it in her head and she remembered how hurt she'd been those first few weeks and months. She hadn't believed anyone that he wouldn't be coming home.
Viren had gone quiet as he watched the emotions move across her face and then suddenly he reached out and curled his fingers around hers, causing the spoon to fall and sugar to spill everywhere but Nivi couldn't think of any of that, all she could do was stare at his hand and try to somehow stop her heart from jumping out of her chest. It was like she was frozen in that spot and she couldn't think of anything else.
'I'm sorry I took so long to come back to you Nivi' Viren said the words quietly and pulled on her hand lightly so that she was facing him. 'Nivi..?' She didn't want to look up but she couldn't help herself and then she couldn't seem to look away; his eyes were so deep and with a start she realised she could see her own love reflected in them...
Viren didn't know what he was doing, he couldn't think straight; he was still holding Nivi's hand and she was staring up at him with the biggest and brownest eyes he'd ever seen. She seemed to be as lost as he was and he couldn't stop himself from moving closer to her and reaching up with his other hand to move her hair back from her face slowly. He brushed her cheek with his fingers lightly and watched as she blinked and shivered. He took a deep breath, 'Nivi, there's something I need to tell you. I...'
'Nivi, where's the tea?! Sab intezaar...' Divya stopped as she took in what she'd just walked in on and wished she could disappear. They both jumped apart instantly and didn't look at her or at each other. Divya saw Nivi pull her hand out of Viren's as she moved and her eyes widened; she felt like kicking herself for her awful timing and watched as Nivi muttered something about the tea going cold and then rush out with the tray as fast as she could.