Joined: 09 April 2010
The Ski Trip
Hazel eyes scanned the room about her. Everything was white and it seemed so sterile. There was the unmistakable scent of cleaning detergent and medicinal aroma in her room that she always identified with the hospital. She sighed and winched as her leg involuntarily flexed. The pain radiated through her body and she groaned. She had a broken leg. Unfortunately, the movement she had made triggered a cascading set of reactions as her hand grabbed her left side. She had bruised ribs as well. She felt like a fool completely embarrassed at what had happened. She couldn't believe that she had let her own competitiveness and jealousy get the best of her. The senior class trip was at a ski resort in Colorado. She had hardly mastered the practice hill, the Bunny Slope but had somehow been convinced into going on the Green Hill. Thank goodness it was the beginner one and she didn't go on the Black Diamond Hill, the one reserved for expert skiers. She probably wouldn't have made it back alive if she did. Her nose crinkled at the thought of how stupid she must have looked trying to ski down the slope when she lost control and went tumbling down the mountain. He was probably laughing along with everyone else. He was probably outside right now on the slopes skiing with his friends without a care. She sighed again and stared out the window.
Her eyes shifted to the door when she heard a hard knock. "Did someone order flowers?" a cheery voice greeted. The person's face was hidden behind a large bouquet of sunflowers but she recognized his voice immediately. "Preet! What are you doing here?"
A magnetic smile soon appeared before her as the sunflowers lowered. His brown eyes sparked with mischief as he explained, "Bauji had a surgery conference here and I convinced him to let me come too. And guess who else I brought?"
"Oh please, stop making it sound like it was all you!" exclaimed a light female voice. She pushed Preet to the side so she could enter the room. "Heer Didi! OMG, does it hurt?"
"She's laying in a hospital bed with one foot propped up in the air and bandages on her arms and head...it's just a flesh wound really...doesn't hurt one bit...yep, she'll be walking by tomorrow Meher," Preet sarcastically replied.
Meher turned towards him and gave him an evil glare and then turned her attention back to her sister. "Mama is going to flip...she's gonna start balling the minute she sees you..." No sooner had her younger sister finished speaking when their mother came rushing into the room in a panic. Her hair seemed almost windblown and her eyes were puffy like she hadn't slept for the last twenty-four hours since she had heard her daughter had been in an accident.
"Heer! Oh My God...your leg!" Teji Mann shouted. She held her daughter's hand and started caressing her face. "What happened? I should have never let you go on this ski trip. You must be in a lot of pain...oh my poor girl."
"I'm fine Mama," Heer replied.
"Fine? This does not look fine at all," Teji said. She put her hand on her cheek and sighed. "We were going to go apartment hunting after the ski trip...now that you're hurt you will need more bed rest///we're going to have to think of something...I suppose I will have to go on my own."
"Mama, it isn't like I won't be able to walk...I will just use crutches," Heer said. She didn't want her mother going by herself and picking out an apartment. For whatever reason she felt rather possessive about the process; she wanted to take part in it and not have her mother decide for her. She was moving away from home to go to college and it would be her first time being away from her family. She loved them dearly but there was something about being independent that was alluring to her. College was the time to discover oneself and experience life on your own without the safety net of your parents. Heer was excited but also scared because she had been with her family for the past18 years of her life.
"Kaisi ho Heer?"
She lifted her eyes and smiled at the man wearing a dark blue suit as he entered into the room. "Good as I can be with a broken leg. How are you Lalit Uncle?"
"You seem to be in good spirits...that's always a good sign. You'll be back on your feet in no time," Doctor Lalit Juneja replied. He had been best friends with her father, Balraaj Mann during their college days. After they had graduated Lalit had been accepted into medical school in New York while her father had been accepted into business school in Florida. They kept in touch the best they could despite their busy schedules. Eventually after several years of marriage and growing families the two friends ended up moving to the state of Texas by pure chance. They enrolled their children into the same high school and lived only a few blocks away from each other.
"Thanks," Heer smiled.
"Thank you Lalit," Teji added.
"Thank me? But I haven't done anything. My specialty is in surgery," he replied.
"But you called the hospital and made sure they took special care of her," Teji said.
"I just so happened to know the director of the hospital that's all," Lalit said. He then looked at his watch. "I'm sorry but I have a meeting to attend to," looking at Heer, "you young lady are ordered to eat lots of Jell-O and watch tons of TV...it's the doctor's prescription...you have to follow it."
"Yes Dr. Juneja," Heer giggled.
"I'll see you all later," Lalit said looking at his son, Teji, and Meher and then exited the room.
Meher opened up her backpack and pulled out a bunch of magazines. "Here you go Di...lots of reading material for you."
"Thank Meher," Heer said as she went through the stack.
"Heer, I'm going to go get your water jug filled," Teji announced and left the room.
"Okay Mama," she nodded and then waited until the door closed before she asked her sister, "So how did you convince Papa to let you come?"
"I told you I can be very persuasive," Preet interrupted.
"Whatever Preet," Meher replied rolling her eyes. "Papa wasn't going to let me come until I said Mama would be an emotional wreck and Lalit Uncle had a meeting to go to so he couldn't babysit her. Plus, it helped that I got an A in history class."
"You did? That's great!" Heer shouted with glee.
"All thanks to you...you really helped me out a lot on that history paper...I would have gotten a B and then Papa would be lecturing me about my grades again. I mean I think I'm pretty good...I get A's in everything except for history and English class...even then I think B's aren't that bad."
"Eh, grades are overrated," Preet replied.
"That's because you're a straight C student," Meher quipped back.
"Hey, I work hard for those C's...those are hard C's I get..." Preet defended.
"Yeah, really hard work...you sleep all day in class," Meher said. "And why do you make fun of me? Heer Di is a straight A student why don't you say anything to her?"
"Cause I would get beat," Preet replied sourly causing Heer to laugh.
"I have crutches now," Heer threatened.
There was sudden knock at the door causing everyone to pause and stare. Preet cautiously walked over and opened it letting in some of Heer's classmates. They were holding balloons, flowers, and get well cards. Gayatri Juneja walked in last as their school chaperone. She had a gentle caring smile on her face when she saw Heer, relieved that she was all right. Heer smiled and nodded her head as her friends started to talk about what had been going on since she was in the hospital. Even though she was listening to them her eyes would scan over to the door wondering if he would come. Her eyes flexed as she saw the white door push open but immediately tried to hide the disappointment on her face as Sanjana Rampal came walking in. Sanjana gave a polite smile at Heer but then walked over to Gayatri and said, "Hi Aunty. Prem can't make it. Mr. Frederickson asked him to take photos for the yearbook so he's gone snowboarding with some classmates."
"I see," Gayatri replied.
"Oh, he wanted me to give you this," Sanjana said as she handed her an envelope. She looked on curiously as Gayatri opened the envelope and began reading the letter inside. She shifted her eyes and gently leaned towards her trying to see if she could find out what it was about. Gayatri quietly walked towards the window making sure the letter was folded so no prying eyes could see and finished reading it there. Sanjana frowned but then decided to join the rest of her classmates as they talked to Heer.
Heer sighed as she flipped the channels on the television. She was completely bored out of her mind. She wanted to leave her room and get some fresh air but she couldn't because the doctors had ordered her to rest. She really wished her mom and sister could have stayed longer but visiting hours were over at the hospital. Since there was nothing of interest on the TV she shut it off and closed her eyes to sleep. That's when the door of her room slowly and silently opened. A young man eighteen years of age came walking into the room holding a bouquet of fresh flowers. His mocha eyes scanned the surroundings taking note of all the get well flowers and balloons she had received. He stared down at his own bouquet and sighed wondering if she would like them. He gently placed them on the over-bed table and positioned the table so when she woke up she would see them right away. He then nervously rubbed the back of his head; his thick black hair getting ruffled by the action. He knew he should leave since she was sleeping and he didn't want to disturb her from her rest but his feet wouldn't move. They stood there rooted to the spot refusing to turn away from the bed and instead forced him to walk closer to her.
His eyes took in her delicate form and he felt like he was watching an angel sleeping. Her silky hair framed her face beautifully and her lips were a rosy pink. He continued to gaze at her pink lips marveling at how enticing they were and before he knew it he was hovering over her. He swallowed and realized it was inappropriate for him to be doing this. He couldn't just steal a kiss from her like this. When he had seen her take the tumble down the mountain his heart had dropped. He knew he was at fault for what had happened. He should have stood up and said something to stop her. She wasn't ready and had been goaded on by her friends to try the Green Hill out. It didn't help matters that Sanjana started to show off in front of him. He knew how competitive she could get sometimes and he did nothing to stop it. He felt extremely guilty for everything that had happened. And what was worse he couldn't even come and visit her as he had been asked by Mr. Frederickson to take photos for the yearbook.
He didn't know when his feelings for her had started but he knew they were growing stronger and stronger with each passing day. Sometimes he would purposely wait by his locker knowing he would be late to his science class just so he could spend a few extra seconds to watch her take her books from her locker. When her family came over for dinner he always felt this jittery excitement in the pit of his stomach and made sure he took a shower so he'd smelled fresh and clean when they arrived. He was even thinking about picking the same university she was attending or a university in the same state that she was going to be in. He knew he was being stupid but he somehow convinced himself that if they were in the same state, city, or school they would be in contact with each other and things would just naturally come about.
His eyes flexed as he saw her stir in the bed and he held his breathe afraid she was going to wake up and ask him what he was doing hovering over her like this. He didn't know why he didn't have the courage to tell her how he felt. He envied the way his little brother Preet had a way of being open and could say anything and everything on his mind. It wasn't always a good thing but when it came to relationships; to confessions it was a welcomed asset. He breathed deeply letting his eyes gaze at her again. He suddenly tightened his jaw with a look of determination and leaned forward placing a gentle kiss on her forehead. He made sure his lips touched her skin and not the bandage on her head. He wanted to feel the softness of her skin and show how much he cared for her. He knew he was being very bad doing this without her permission but he wanted to secretly take this simple pleasure. His eyes widened and he pulled back in alarm as he saw her almond shaped eyes flutter open. "Prem?"
Heer looked at him stunned that he was in her room. She noticed the way he was fidgeting and how uneasy he looked. "What are you doing here? Visiting hours are over...if they catch you...you'll be thrown out."
"Uh...yea, I-I-I know. I didn't get to come this afternoon cause Mr. Frederickson..."
"Yeah, Sanjana told us...you had to take yearbook photos," Heer replied.
"Yeah, I'm sorry I didn't come," Prem apologized.
"It's fine...it couldn't be helped."
"So, broken leg, huh?" Prem said pointing to her cast.
"Yup, that and some bruised ribs," Heer said.
"They signed your cast?" Prem inquired even though he saw the big blue letters of his brother's signature.
"Yeah, you wanna sign it?" Heer asked.
"Sure," Prem grinned and took the pen from the over-bed table.
"Oh My God..." Heer gasped. Prem's eyes widen at her sudden outburst and he lifted his head wondering what was the matter. "Who brought these flowers?"
"I did," Prem answered. "Do you like them? Are they okay?"
"Yes, I love them...they are so beautiful," Heer replied. The bouquet had red and pink roses, lilies, Gerbera daisies, and alstroemeria. It was very different from the other bouquets she had received as most of them were an assortment of colors usually yellow, white, purple, or blue. But these flowers were all red and pink. It was quite obvious what they meant but Heer seemed lost to the meaning. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," Prem smiled brightly and then went back to writing on her cast.
"I must have looked like an idiot rolling down the hill," Heer said trying to make some conversation.
Prem stopped in mid sentence of what he was writing and frowned, "No. I was really worried. We all were. I skied down the hill as fast as I could to tell the chaperones. They said you were really disoriented when the medics came. I called Bauji and told him what had happened. He knew the director of the hospital here and he said he would take care of everything and make sure you were taken care of. And as luck would have it Bauji also had a conference here too...so I knew Preet and Meher would make a fuss wanting to come. I told him that they could help you and your Mom while he was at the conference."
"You did all of that?" Heer uttered softly. "You care that much?"
"Of course I care," Prem replied looking into her eyes. There was a moment of awkward silence between them and they both shifted their eyes away wondering what had just happened. "Anyways, I didn't do much...all I did was call Bauji."
"No, you did a lot Prem. Thank you." He shyly grinned and finished signing her cast. Heer timidly bit her lower lip and moved her eyes nervously.
"What's wrong? Do you hurt somewhere?" Prem asked with concern as he noticed her reaction.
"No, I'm not hurt. I'm fine. It's just...um, I kinda...want...to go...to the...bathroom," Heer said.
"Oh," Prem replied. "So, you need help getting out of the bed, right?"
"Um, yeah...if you don't mind...the rest I can do myself...you know you don't have to um, follow me in," Heer mumbled.
Prem gently lowered her right leg from the leg sling and then opened the side bar of the bed so she could get out. Heer winched at the pain she was feeling from her ribs and clutched onto his shoulder. "Are you okay?" he asked with concern.
"It's okay...it just my ribs...they are bit sore that's all," Heer replied.
Prem tenderly held her and helped her stand up on her good foot. He took a tiny step back not realizing it would cause her to lose her balance. She grabbed onto him and he panicked that she was going to go tumbling down on the floor and held her firmly to him. They both breathed a sigh of relief that nothing had happened and then slowly raised their heads. Prem was amazed at how close their faces were from each other. All he had to do was lean his head one fraction inwards and he would be kissing her. And that is what he did without realizing he was doing the very thing he was secretly thinking only a few seconds ago. Heer's eyes widen in shock at feeling Prem's soft lips against her lips.
Prem's brain suddenly registered what he was doing and he pulled back looking at her guiltily. He didn't know how she was going to take this impulsive act of his. He couldn't say anything as he felt completely tongue tied; all he could do was just stare at her. Heer looked at him unable to believe what he had just done. He had kissed her. He had actually kissed her. She watched as Prem's mouth gapped trying to explain himself. She heard the first "I..." and then stopped him from speaking by sealing her lips onto his lips again. She didn't want him to say anything to ruin the moment because she didn't know if the moment would ever happen between them again.
Prem felt his body tensed for a few seconds at the abruptness of her kiss but then relaxed. He held her in his arms and gently closed his eyes. He was relishing this kiss they were sharing. Heer wrapped her arms around his neck and decided to let this feeling go wherever it needed to go. When the kiss naturally ended they both looked at each other; their cheeks blushing a soft pink. "I like you...I really like you a lot...I think I'm falling in love with you," Prem confessed.
"Prem..." Heer uttered unable to say anything else. Her mind had gone completely blank at his confession but she felt a warm fuzzy feeling crept into her body.
"You don't have to reply...I know this seems sort of fast," Prem replied. "I...just wanted you to know."
"I feel the same way too," Heer said. Prem's face lit up as his smile beamed brightly in hearing that she felt the same way about him. He could see the smile in her eyes and he loved the way her lips where curled upward in a huge grin. Prem leaned in again to capture her lips for the third time that night. Unfortunately, the happy couple was interrupted by the night nurse making her rounds. They both stood there embarrassed that they had been caught. Prem continued to hold Heer by the waist as he didn't want her to fall and looked sheepishly at the night nurse who wore a frown on her face.
"Visiting hours are over," she stated.
"I'm Prem Juneja. Dr. Lalit Juneja's son," Prem greeted. "Doctor Oliver...um, Director Oliver said it would be okay for me to visit her after hours."
The nurse's face softened at the names he had given and she gave a nod. She then looked at Heer, "Is there anything I can help you with Ms. Mann?"
"I was just going to the bathroom," Heer explained.
"Let me help you then," the night nurse instructed and took over.
Prem grinned as he sat in his chair eating a little cup of Jell-O and watching TV with Heer. He had gone down to the cafeteria while she was in the bathroom and bought them. "So how do you like the flavor?" he asked. "They didn't have lime...I know that's your favorite...sorry..."
"It's fine. I like this berry blue," Heer replied. "How do you like yours...peach?"
"Not bad...you wanna try?" Prem inquired as he offered her the cup. Heer took a tiny spoonful and then offered her own treat. "Pretty good," he grinned. "You know I agree with Bauji...this Jell-O prescription will have you up and running about in now time." Heer giggled at his joke making him smile. "So you're going to North Carolina soon to look for apartments?"
"Yeah, Mama thinks we may have to reschedule because of my accident and everything. But I can walk around in crutches."
"But you might get tired really easily and it would tough on you," Prem replied with concern. "How about this...why I don't go with your Mom? I have to go to there anyways and look for a place myself. We can do like a video call or if you want I could bring a camcorder and make a video and then send it to you so you can have a look at the place."
"Wait, you've decided on Duke?" Heer asked.
"Yea," Prem replied with a gentle half grin. "To tell you the truth..." looking shyly downward, "I made that decision just now...cause you're going there..."
"But Prem what about the other schools? You shouldn't do that...you should go to the school you want to go to...one you like...don't go to a school just because I'm going there," Heer said with worry.
"I was seriously looking at Duke. They have a great medical program and I like the campus. It's a plus you're going to be there too. Besides if I'm there your Mom won't have to worry as much. I'll be there to take care of you," Prem replied.
"Take care of me?"
"Why, you don't want me to take care of you?" Heer shook her head gently giving a shy smile. Prem grinned at her response and leaned over to give her a kiss. "You can't get rid of me that easily." Heer slide her hand onto the nape of his neck and giggled as their lips met. She closed her eyes and savored the way their mouths adjusted naturally against each other.
"It's getting late...you should probably go," Heer said after the kiss had ended.
"You're kicking me out?" Prem pouted.
"Does the school know that you're here? They'll probably notify your parents that you're missing when they find out. You should go before you get into trouble."
"My parents know that I'm here. Ma dropped me off and Bauji is going to pick me up and drop me back at the hotel," Prem explained. He then sighed, "I hope Preet isn't hogging the bed...we couldn't get a double for some reason. Anyways, I'll be back tomorrow morning"
"You're staying with your family? You aren't going back to the ski resort? You're coming back tomorrow morning?"
"Why do you keep asking questions like this? I thought you liked me. Don't you want to see me?" Prem replied with a frown.
"No, of course I do...it's just...the class trip...I know how much you looked forward to it."
"You think I'm going to be able to have fun while you're here?" Prem asked. "Nothing's more important to me than you. I'm coming home with you too. I heard the doctors say the day after tomorrow you'll be able to go home." Heer looked at him in awe. "It will be nice getting away from Sanjana...she's been hanging around me a lot on this trip. Please don't tell her I'm going to Duke. She's been harassing me asking me where I'm going to college."
"Don't worry I won't tell her," Heer replied with a slight edge in her voice. "Don't want her following us."
"Are you getting jealous?" Prem grinned.
"Uh? Um, no..." Heer stumbled.
"You look cute when you're jealous," Prem chuckled. Heer embarrassedly looked away unable to met his gaze. He tenderly reached out with his hand and lifted her chin with his fingers making her turn her head. "I've already confessed to you my feelings and you feel the same way...we don't need to worry about other people. I'm yours." Heer's eyes flexed with abundant happiness and she smiled. "So, I'll see you tomorrow? We can have another Jell-O date."
"I'd like that," Heer replied. She gently closed her eyes when she saw Prem tilt his head and lean closer. Their lips touched again for another sweet kiss. Her hands went up and cupped his face trying to prolong the moment they were sharing. Prem grinned and said between kisses, "I thought you wanted me to go...it's getting late."
"It is...you should go..." Heer replied against his lips.
"Or maybe I should just stay...I could sleep in the chair."
"No, you should go," Heer breathed pulling her hands away.
Prem gave her a loving gaze and softly said, "Okay." He then helped her lower the bed down and turn off the lamp in her room. "Sleep tight...sweet dreams," he wished and placed a tender kiss on her forehead.
"Goodnight Prem," Heer smiled and then watched as he quietly left the room. She sighed happily as she adjusted her sheets. She couldn't stop grinning at everything that had occurred. The ski trip had turned out a lot better than she had expected. She was actually thankful that she had gotten into her accident because she had gotten her Prem. He had confessed his feelings for her and they were on their way to becoming something more. The future seemed brighter than before knowing that Prem was going to be there at her side. This was only the beginning of their love story.
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