Joined: 26 May 2011
"Really? What will you do?" she challenged him, looking at his eyes with chin lifted up.
He felt absolutely enraged and threw a heavy breath thinking what he should do. In a moment, without giving her time, he took his hands behind her and gently scooped her in his arms.
She was shocked !!
For a moment, she was completely out of her wits and became speechless. Till now, she had been fighting with him and within a few moments, she was in his arms. He lifted her with a lot of care''..as gently as one would lift a delicate doll.
She had been avoiding him like crazy and here she lay completely in his possession. His persona overwhelmed her''.. beyond the extent that her intellect would ever allow her. She forgot that she was upset and she had to resist him from carrying her''.
He lifted her with such an authority that she could not even utter a single word'
She stared at him''tried to unsuccessfully ignore the smell of his cologne, which terribly intoxicated her. As she observed his chiseled features'..his nose, his jawline and his eyelashes from a small distance'''her gaze remained stuck at his eyes.
He had been busy in lifting her and tracing the path through the raw, unbuilt, rocky road and while he stepped up to reach the main highway, he didn't pay attention to her initially for a few seconds''. he carried her with such ease that she seemed like feather-light to him. He was angry before he picked her up and held her strongly, in case she resisted.
But she didn't !!
When she felt slipping down''...she hesitatingly snaked her hands around his neck and the touch at the nape of his neck startled him'''.making him aware at how close she was''
He gasped and looked at her face''...and like always, he couldn't see anything else beyond that''. her dusky complexion, her expressive eyes, her attractive nose and naturally pink lips devoid of any lip colour''..he still couldn't figure out that out of these what attracted him the most.
He was surprised to find her looking at him and their eyes held each other's''.and for a moment, he felt that he won't be able to walk further. He found her gaze fixed on his eyes and like always''she confused him.
Why was she looking at him like this? She had always made it very clear that she hated him'''if not hate, at least she never liked him'''. Then why did she respond to his touches and kiss?
He was astounded and couldn't take his eyes off her''nor did she try to look away ''. the moment was locked forever.
He unlocked the central locking of the car with his key and bundled her on the front seat, placing her as gently as he could. He removed his hands from behind her after seating her but she didn't. She still had her hands around his neck and looked at his eyes hopelessly...
'''as if he was the answer to all her queries'..as if he was the anchor to her dwindling ship''..and as if he was the only one she cared for, in this world''.
She was bemused herself and didn't want to let go of this moment''she didn't even realize that she still had her arms wrapped around him, with her heart failing to remember the normal rhythm on which it used to beat regularly before this.
He was extremely confused'.''even he didn't want to let go of her either''.. but the fact that she had held him and not vice versa'''..drove him completely out of his mind'.
He knew that what he had been feeling about them was right''..this girl felt immensely for him, as he had always believed''..but will never accept so easily'..
Frowning at this thought, he pressed his lips in frustration''but softened to see her helpless face''.and felt like laughing out loud at her indecisive state''
He knew what she was going through''..it wasn't only the scorpion sting pain that was common to them'''there was much more !!!!!
His gaze drifted along her long pretty nose and rested on her lips''as he inched closer to her, they were hardly a step away from kissing'...he had been slapped once for trying to kiss her and the second time, though they had kissed but he had felt guilty and apologized for kissing her without her will'''.he recalled all that and his heart started beating faster''
Should I or shouldn't I ?
He madly wanted to kiss her''.he looked up at her eyes again and found her astonished''... she lowered her eyes to look at his lips and lifted her head closer to him''
Before they could kiss, the trance broke due to strong blaring horns of two SUVs coming from the opposite direction at a high speed. He closed his eyes for a second trying to steady his thoughts and his beats and she quickly removed her hands from around him, looking down and then away.
He opened his eyes and whispered, "I think I should be driving'''the highway is not a safe place to be''."
She nodded, lowering her gaze''..he safely secured the door on her side and quickly jogged to reach the other side to sit on his seat driving away smoothly after locking all the gates.
She gulped hard and with trembling hands, she reached for the water bottle and sipped water slowly, looking away''thinking about what happened to her a while ago''. she always lost every capacity to think whenever he was near her !!
She knew that after this episode, he will be very confident to claim that something was definitely going on between them''.and she won't be able to deny''.
He had accepted his fascination for her very early but had been severely discouraged because of her attitude and rejection. But, time and again, she had failed to ignore him'''she had responded to him, to his touch, to his kiss and even today'''.she wanted him to come close to her''.
She closed her eyes and reclined back in her seat. He drove fast but kept safe'''.. taking out all his frustration on the accelerator. He reached for the gear with his left hand to change it and felt a soft fabric in his hand''..an end of her turquoise, chiffon stole had come to lie over the gear, when he had settled her on the seat.
He gave a sneaking glance to her and found her lay still'.. with eyes closed''. focusing on the road again, he did not attempt to remove the stole from over the gear and changed the gear through the fabric'.. holding it under his palm. He held the end of the stole in his left hand and felt the fabric as if touching her through it and lifted it to smell it, before leaving it where it was.
It smelt of lavender..'..
He drove silently and she lay motionless completely mortified at her response to him. She was trying hard to avoid him from affecting her''moreover, she was trying hard to avoid letting him know that he affected her'''..but all in vain''
She had been more than responsive to him'''..and he had just captured every thought process that crossed through her'..
After a long time, she was woken up with an extremely husky, "Khanak !!!"
She opened her eyes after 2 calls, which were almost like sugar syrups to her ears'..as she lifted her lids open...''she saw his face slightly turned towards her and she smiled at him. He smiled back'. a warm, loving smile and she closed her eyes once again'' to save this image forever !!
"Khanak'.." he called again, "hey'..open your eyes."
'Oh! so it isn't a dream'..' she immediately sat back to reality.
He handed over a water bottle to her and smiled once again. She loved his smile''..
As she took the bottle and looked around, she noticed that the car was parked on the left of the road..
"I called you 'K' so many times'''..finally, had to say 'Khanak'''then you responded'."
"It will take some time to get used to 'K''''I'm used to people calling me Khanak..."
"What happened? Did we reach Mumbai?" she asked looking all around once again. They were still on the highway and it was slightly dusky outside.
He hesitated, and spoke cautiously, "There's a small problem K''..I am really not sure how coolly will you take it."
She became nervous, thinking of various problems, "What happened?"
"Actually'''. I don't know where we are''."
He explained patiently, "Listen, don't get angry''.. After you dozed off, I was driving carefully for a while but slowly I went into this thinking mode''. And there was a diversion, I guess''.one towards Mumbai and the other towards Pune''...I think'''.I'm not sure."
She looked at him with a near blank face and did not respond.
"So, I don't remember which road I took'''now I have been driving since 2 hours, and we should have reached Mumbai by now'''but''"
"We haven't," he shrugged showing her the surroundings, "''..we're still on the highway'''"
She did some quick thinking which didn't help at all''.she didn't reply to him.
"It's all my fault''''.I'm sorry K''," he said genuinely.
"You mean''.'..you took a wrong route and did not realize?"
"Yepp'''" he pressed his lips and shrugged.
"Why are you so nervous? It happens''''..very often."
"But, it has never happened with me'''.. 'never'''.I am usually a smart person."
He defended himself and appeared genuinely upset at his absent mindedness.
"Even smart people do it sometimes''''..'it happens." She added softly.
"K''''.I thought you will get very upset." He was surprised when she spoke very coolly.
"But why will I get upset? Both of us are lost''.I mean''.," she left the sentence midway, without adding anything to the last part''not knowing what to say more.
He waited for her to add 'something' but then straightened to sit normally on his seat, much relaxed now, "I just thought that I should let you know''.so I woke you up."
"Thanks'''.anyways, I was not intending to sleep'''I don't know how I fell asleep."
"You needed that'."
"But, it is bad manners to sleep when someone is driving on the highway." She said drinking more water.
"You are excused''..you didn't sleep well last night."
"Neither did you'''still you've been driving for past 5-6 hours." She spoke casually but her concern spilled out involuntarily.
He felt a flutter inside, when she referred to his lack of sleep'...
"I don't mind driving''''.I love to drive."
"I can see that''.."
She tried to hide the laughter and placed a hand on her mouth in the process.
"Don't make fun of me'''it happens''''do you know how stressed I became when I realized that we are on a wrong route?"
"Nothing'''..leave it''.." he shrugged.
"Tell me SK'''..what did you think?" she genuinely wanted to know and turned towards him.
"I thought''''. that you might think'..' that I did it purposefully."
Her smile disappeared slowly, she became serious and looked down for a moment trying to measure words''.then she spoke slowly, "I don't think 'so' low of you."
Her voice, her words and her trust in him thrilled him'... a renewed energy swept through him when she said that she didn't think 'that' low of him.
"Really?...thanks a lot'''...by the way, how low you think of me?" he turned to her and smirked.
"You are impossible'''" she nodded with a subtle smile'' dismissing his joke.
"But, at least you accept that you do think of me?" He was back to flirting.
"If I say that I do think of you'''.will it give you peace??" she raised her eyebrows teasingly'...
"Do you?" he looked at her''.. expectantly.
"What do you think?"
"I think you do."
"Hmm'''..interesting''''." she opened the drawer and took out a wet tissue to wipe her face.
"Hate me or love me''''you cannot ignore me K''."
"I don't hate you SK''" she murmured softly while he got down the car to seek some help. He listened to her soft murmur and thought that he heard something' immediately he turned back before closing the door.
"You'''.did you say something?"
She nodded in a 'no'.
He asked some local villagers passing by, about the route to Mumbai and turned the car.
"Doesn't your Ipad have a GPS or a navigator??" she asked casually.
"It has'''.but there are no signals'''." He spoke while turning the car.
"Are you sure that we are on a correct route now?"
"I just asked a few people''.we'll ask again, if we see someone ahead."
"Yeah'." She sat relaxed.
He drove for a while and after some time, he gave a fleeting glance to her for a second.
She didn't speak but looked at him in response.
"Are you really not mad at me? I mean'''.any other girl would have screamed left, right and centre."
"I don't know about others, but even I was walking in the opposite direction when I was upset at that time'' We don't realize what we are doing, when we are deeply thinking about something."
"Yeah'''.I agree !"
"What were you thinking?...so deeply !!"
"I'll tell you later''''.let's get on the correct track first !!
She glanced at her watch'''''it said 7.00 pm. She looked all around as the darkness was slowly taking place of the dusky sky to descend on earth and engulf everything in vicinity.
"It's getting late ''..If we lose our way again''it's going to be really difficult '.." she voiced her concern to the space''.not directly to him.
"Don't worry K'''.I'll not let anything bad happen to you."
His tone, his concern and his confidence was enough to wake up so many butterflies inside her. She was already lost in him'''losing way or track to Mumbai was only secondary'...
As if everything had to come down today'''.It started pouring slowly first and increased gradually so much that it became difficult to drive. He slowed the speed and sighed.
As he looked at her in exasperation, she reassured him with a blink and spoke softly to make him feel better.
"Now, don't begin to say sorry SK''...if it is raining, it is none of your fault'..." she smiled and joked reading his facial expressions.
"Can't help this feeling'''..."
"Come'on'''...such things do happen''..."
"Call someone home''''people must be worrying about you."
"They don't know that I am coming today'...'remember we packed up 3 days early. I thought that I'll give them a surprise."
"Surprise?...or no one cares enough, whether you come or go?" he said in a sarcastic tone.
She became quiet as he had pressed a tender nerve.
"They do care SK''..they have taken care of a kid who lost her mother at an early age. I was my dad's responsibility but he shied away from me. My mamaji took me home and he gave me everything that he gave to his own daughter. I am indebted to them."
"Indebted? Yes you are'''but do they love you?"
"They take good care of me'' Mamaji loves me so much'..as one would love his neice''' Divya, my cousin, is very caring ''mamiji is not very warm, though, even now, but I guess I am fine''...at least I have a home to go back to'''..many orphans don't have that too ''.'I think I am lucky'.."
He nodded in disgust, "K''..if someone loves you''.you want to rush back to your home. You miss it when you are not home and know that you will be missed. ''.If you don't reach back on time, people make frantic calls about your whereabouts. 'That' is love and 'that' is home'''we don't have to feel lucky that at least we have a roof on our head''"
She looked at him in awe''.completely dumbstruck !!
"They were really good to you''..they performed their duty and you should be indebted to them'''.fine''I agree. But love is something else'.."
"I think they love me''.."
"I know they do'''.Gosh ! what makes you present me as someone pitiable?" she became irritated.
"I don't intend to do anything like that'''' I asked that so that I should know whether someone is waiting for you at home'''.or would they be worried?"
"I haven't told anyone that I am coming, so no worries''..but, why do you ask??"
"It is difficult to drive K, in this heavy rain'''..I am pulling in that rest house for the night."
He wasn't listening to her and took a U- turn and drove to the other side for a few yards and parked the car in the shade of a rest house that he had spotted on the way. They were exactly 3 hours from Mumbai and he wasn't able to drive.
He got down and came to her side waiting for her to step out. She kept sitting at her seat.
"No SK'''.we can't spend the night here."
"Alright then, take the car keys and you are free to drive off to Mumbai'.'coz I can't drive in heavy rain'''..am very tired too''..I'll take my car from you tomorrow."
She twitched her lips in disapproval,"Fine, I'm here'''in this unknown place...is it safe?"
"Looks like a nice place''. Come down'''let's check it."
She stepped out hesitating, observed the rest-house and walked behind him clutching her purse. The place looked like a decent one with classy interiors. For a highway motel, it was pretty good. She felt better once they entered the lobby.
At the reception, he asked for 2 rooms and they were given 2 rooms on the top floor. Their luggage was carried up and when she reached there, she opened her mouth in admiration. The top floor had only 4 rooms''..2 on each side facing a large terrace in the centre.
They had dinner at the small restaurant within the rest-house and after dinner, they decided to shoot off to sleep to start early in the morning for Mumbai.
He tossed in bed for around one hour with all lights switched off''..but he couldn't sleep.
The pain in his thumb reminded him of Khanak's pain and how they connected through it'''.he recalled the trip'''' and this journey and the hours spent with her''the way he felt when he lifted her, their almost kiss on the highway and how she looked at him at that time''..'
He couldn't forget those doe-eyes looking at him without a blink''..how she had moved herself to be near him''..
Did she want him to kiss her?...he had no clue'..but he was sure that at least he wanted it''
The way he noticed her sleeping''''when he realized that he had taken a wrong path and had turned towards her to wake her up'...her innocent face struck him, as he observed her sleep peacefully, eyes closed and the lashes fanning on the cheeks''the long pretty nose and her half parted lips, almost compelling him to kiss her..''her hair swaying all over her face''
He remembered that he didn't want to wake her up at all'''he just kept observing her for a long''' long time''.he had even lifted his hand to caress her cheek but didn't do it as he couldn't muster the courage.
After an hour of struggle, he stepped out of his bed and opened the door slowly to let the cool breeze in'..
It was still raining''.and the terrace looked beautiful with flower pots, a small swing, few earthenware articles''everything drenched in rain. He was about to turn back to lie down on his bed when he observed her soaking herself in the showers. It was completely dark outside and all lights were off. Only the moonlight and a far off lamp shade in each corner of the terrace lit the place.
He could see her clearly as one of the lamp shades threw some light directly on her''. And to watch her like this was a sight to treasure''. she was drenched head to toe''.her hair stuck to each other with the weight of water''she wrapped her arms around, subtly '' hugging herself and lifted her face looking at the sky, eyes closed'''and felt the showers all over her''.. the water droplets falling on her face splashed into tinier droplets with the spray making her feel ecstatic''.. she smiled heartily, enjoying every second of the bliss'''she turned her hair to her left and then to her right''..stretched her hands ahead to feel the showers from her fingers to her bare forearms and arms''then she lifted her toe to splash water collected near a flower pot and smiled like a kid''.
Paradise would be something similar to this'''.he thought.
He stood leaning on his door observing her for some time but each passing second made it difficult for him to control himself''a distinct pain seemed to arise somewhere deep making him gulp and gasp''.
As if under a magnetic influence''he went ahead to feel the rain on himself''.he watched her mystified and felt automatically drawn by her presence'''..
Something forced him to reach up to her making him stand directly behind her and she didn't notice him till he held her arm and turned her to face him. She was extremely stunned by this unexpected sudden jerk, as she twirled around to face him and was astonished to find him so close, looking at her intensely.
They let their eyes do the talk''..for longer than usual''.lost in each other''
Before she curled her hands around his neck ''..''...and kissed him''''. stunning him back in bargain !!!
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