Hello All.. I am back with another one of my updates.. And what else can I say but THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all the comments and feedback..
"I always come here. When I am happy, sad, angry, frightened, tensed, this place gives me a sense of peace. Nobody knows this place exists. It was my secret till today. Now it is ours." Aham said proudly as he took Gopi's hand and sat on the bench facing the lake.
He had accidently found the spot when he was aimlessly driving one night to calm himself. He had found peace here that day and every other day from then on.. It was an isolated spot with no human traffic.
"You shared it with no one? Not even Maaji?" Gopi asked astounded.
"No Gopi.. I do not share secrets or problems that easily. I always try to keep it to myself so that others are not affected by it." "But Ahamji why? Everyone loves you at home. They will only help you." " I do not know why Gopi. I never share my pain or sorrows with others because I always thought it would make me feel vulnerable. Sharing them would be a sign of vulnerability. And I was afraid of people taking advantage of the fact. I never realized when and how I built a wall around my heart in the name of protection. A wall that I myself found difficlut to scale..." Aham continued looking at the crystal blue water..
Gopi looked up at Aham and held their entwined hands tighter. She laid her head on his shoulders and stared at the water herself. She was slowly realizing how lonely Aham had been till recently. Just like her. She felt Aham move his hand to make her more comfortable. He brought his right hand around her and kissed her on the head once. Their silence continued broken only by the chirping of birds..
"God.. She looks beautiful" Jigar thought silently as he watched Deepika come down for the party. His Gopi Bhabhi had been true to her word. She had helped Deepika get ready and then had left with Aham. Deepika was now wearing a blue sequined sari with matching accessories. She looked gorgeous and Jigar knew he was staaring at her.
"Jigar?" "huh.. Can we go?" He asked, bringing himself back and turned around to march off to the car. He felt Deepika's eyes on his back as he walked quickly to the door. He knew he was behaving silly. But when he saw her coming down, he had felt something that made him uncomfortable. He had for the first time looked at her and had not seen her as his friend.
Deepika was disappointed. She had hoped that Jigar would comment on her dress or how she looked. Gopi had taken great care in dressing her up. They had both helped each other to get ready and Deepika had felt she had gained a sister in Gopi. But now Jigar was acting stand offish and she wondered if he was pre occupied by work.
The journey to the banquet hall was made in silence. Jigar could not meet Deepika's eyes and Deepika was tired of having her questions answered in mono syllables. She felt that Jigar was regretting bringing her to the party with him.
"Welcome Mr. Modi and your lovely wife..." The minute they stepped out of the car, the ursher welcomed them.. "She.. She is just a friend.." Jigar corrected as he felt himself and Deepika turn bright red.. Their car trip here had been bad enough. Now this mistake was making it worse. Jigar wished he had come alone..
"I am afraid of injections." Gopi said softly. "Hmmm?" "I am afraid of injections. Badly." "I know that.. I should.." Aham touched his cheek remembering the slap she had accidently given him and smiled. Gopi went quiet. She was embarassed. "Ahamji I.." "It is ok Gopi." He laughed. Again they fell silent. Each thinking.. "Why are you frightened of injections?" Aham asked lightly. Gopi did not answer. He waited for her giving her the time she needed..
"I was a healthy child when I was young. There was no need for docters or medicines and whatever small cold of fever I got, I used to drink Kaada or Tulsi concotion and I would be alright again." Gopi fell silent again..
"There was so much to do around the house and Raashi ben had to go to school and work. So I used to make sure that she was not troubled. But when I fell sick Maami used to tell me how much Raashi ben had to work to make up for my part of the chores.. So I usually tried working even when I was sick. Once Maami had a house party. Maami wanted me to prepare dinner for her friends. I remember that I had cold that day and I felt dizzy. But Raashi ben told me that she had work from school and left for her friend's house. It was late when the last of her guests came in. I did not notice and burned the rotis that was served to them. I think Maami's guests made a mention of that. Maami got really angry. After everyone left she came to the kitchen. I begged her to forgive me for the mistake but she was not able to forget the insult she was put through.." Gopi swallowed. She could even now remember how angry her maami was that day and that still frightened her.
"It was raining heavily and as punishment maami sent me out to stand in the rain." Aham looked down at Gopi. He heard her talk about her trials with no accusation in her words. She had taken her cousin's and Maami's words on face value. Aham was slowly understanding the extent to which she had been manipulated. His heart felt heavy as he heard her talk of the punishment as though it was an everyday occurance. He tigtened his hold around her.
Gopi continued starring at the deep water. "It was very cold. Cold and wet. I begged maami to let me in. But she was very angry. Finally I think I fainted. When I woke up, I could see Maama hovering over me trying to wake me up. Somebody mentioned about a hospital.. The next thing I remember is waking up in a bed surrounded by white walls. Then maami shouting at a nurse that I was fine enough to go home. I remember walking home supported by Maama. I was asked to sleep in the room adjustcent to the kitchen.. I should have got worse because it is difficult to remember what happened for the next 2 days. But I remember after that.." Gopi's voice caught.
She was unable to continue as she saw herself staring at the maami with an injection in her hand. "She told me it would make me better. And that I needed to get better. There was a lot of work to do. I remember the injection.. It hurt Ahamji.. very badly. I shouted that I was hurting and she just jabbed it in more.. Ahamji it hurt.." Gopi had tears in her eyes now and she had turned herself into Aham's hands. Aham wrapped her tightly in his embrace. "I could not move my hands for 2 days. But Maama told me that night that Maami will not do that again. He also applied medicine on the wound. It became alright after sometime.. But since then I have been frightened.." Gopi mumbled and held on as Aham rocked her back and forth.
"How old were you Gopi?" Aham asked knowing that the answer would hurt him even more.. "I do not know exactly.. Maybe 10 or twelve.. I think I was a little older than Panna." Gopi said.
Aham looked down at her horrified. He had understood what she had gone through from Raashi's words and her own ones before.. But not in this level of detail. He felt disgust at her maami and anger. Anger that nobody stopped her from hurting Gopi..
Aham felt Gopi trembling and her held her close to him. "She cannot harm you anymore Gopi." He whispered close to her ear. "I will make sure nobody harms you ever. I promise."
Gopi sobbed as she heard his words. Aham's words were soothing her.But just when she thought there were no more tears to shed, she felt Aham lift her face and look at her face intently. His eyes were filled with love and pain. Pain for her. She felt herself drawn to him and she could not avoid his gaze.
Aham slowly bent down to kiss her eyes first, then her cheek. He used his thumbs to wipe her tears away and then lightly bent down once more to place a kiss on her mouth. He felt her lips tremble against his and then more tears run down her cheek. This time he knew they were from happiness.
Deepika watched as Jigar again made a move to another part of the room. She felt deflated but also angry. Jigar had been avoiding her all night. As soon as they had entered the party, he had left her to talk to one of his clients. From then on, she had tried to approach him and he had found different ways to dodge her.
Deepika walked slowly to a window. She had hoped that Jigar would atleast complement her. But now she wished she had not come to the party. Atleast Jigar would have been normal with her when he returned home. Now it seemed he was avoiding her like plague.
"Hello sweety. Did your date leave you? Don't worry I am here for you.." Deepika turned to see one of the guests leering at her. He was half drunk. "No thank you. I can take care of myself." Deepika replied back. She tried to move away from the window to avoid further altercation. "Oh come on.. Don't fuss. I am there sweetheart.." Deepika was shocked when the man held her wrist and turned her around. "You.. Ba.." before she could even continue, "She is with me. Now take your hands off before I make a pulp out of your face." Deepika turned around to see Jigar at her side. He pulled her to him and was standing beside her with a hand on her shoulder. The man looked stunned and immediately dropped her wrist.
Deepika brushed Jigar's hand off. "Thanks. But I can take care of myself." She said as she angrily left both the men. She heard Jigar rush to catch up with her.. "Err.. Deeps. Stop. I am sorry. I was behaving like an idiot. Now will you please stop?" Jigar asked as he walked beside Deepika. Deepika turned to face Jigar and anger was clearly written on her face. "If you so much dislike bringing me to the party then why did you even offer to? Jigar, you know I do not know anybody here and yet you let me alone here? What is your problem?" "Deeps. I am sorry. Ok. Please forget it.." Deepika looked at Jigar and turned again. She was not getting any answers and was hurt.
"Will you dance with me?" Jigar asked out of the blue and Deepika turned around surprised. Without waiting for her, Jigar took her to the dance floor. Deepika glared at him butacqueised. They started dancing to a slow number.
As the music went on, both got comfortable with each other. Deepika put her hand on Jigar's shoulder while he had one hand on her waist. They swayed to the music.
"I was jealous. When I saw you with that guy" "What?.. Jigar he was half drunk and came to me... I did.." "I know. I realized immediately.. I am sorry."
"Wait.." Deepika said, "You were jealous?" Jigar now looked definitely guilty. "I.. yeah.. Oh Deeps.. Yes. I did feel jealous. I do not know what happened. You are my friend and today.. I.. My feelings.. I am feeling.." Jigar could not find words to say what he had felt all evening. He stopped and looked at Deepika. He was findig it hard to explain what he was feeling. He was worried how Deepika would take it.
She looked at him surprised but there was no confusion on her face. She just looked thoughtful. The music ended and all other couples broke up. Jigar let go of Deepika and both slowly walked to the tables lost in thought.
Both Jigar and Deepika were seated opposite to each other. Silence reigned after Jigar's speech or the no speech. Jigar was finding it difficult to meet Deepika's eyes and she also seemed deep in thought.
"I felt jealous too when you told me about Sonal.." It was Jigar's turn to look up surprised. "That is why I left. I did not know what I was feeling Jigar. I started seeing you in a different light. You were becoming more than a friend and I was frightened that it would ruin what we had." Deepika finished at a stretch. She was paralyzed about Jigar's reaction. But she wanted to get it off her chest.
"You were jealous of Sonal? Why? But then why did you not tell me then?" Jigar questioned confused. "Why did you hesitate today Jigar? I guess I went through the same thing. I just took the long way out. Well.. You were going to be married to another person and I wanted to get over you.."
"Get over me..." Jigar repeated dazed. He was finding it difficult to come to terms with what Deepika was telling him. The girl he considered his best friend had had 'Feelings' for him?.. Jigar did not know how he felt about it. A part of him that had admired Deepika was rejoicing. Another part that considered her a friend was fighting him.. His emotions were in conflict.
Jigar looked up. "Jigar I know all this is frightening. But can we just take one step at a time. I do not want us to ruin our friendship because of these new developments." Deepika said.
Jigar was surprised but he felt disappointed. It sounded like Deepika wanted to just be his friend and it seemed he had wanted her to say the opposite. "What was I expecting?" He thought. "I understand Deeps. And I apologize again. I will make sure that I never do something to ruin our friendship.." He replied.
"I am happy Jigar. Let's not over analyze what we feel and just ride with the tide. We do have a strong friendship to start out with and maybe this new development will strengthen it further. I just want you to be open with what you feel. We will take one step at a time and see where it leads us to. Aham Bhai was right. I should have let you know what I was going through and should have trusted you.. But it is alright now, Isn't it? You think we will make it?" Deepika held Jigar's hands in hers and asked innocently.
Jigar felt himself smiling. "So she wants to see where this new feelings of our's goes." He thought silently.
"We will take it a day at a time Deeps. And no running this time. Ok." He said. He was engulfed by a sense of calmness for the first time that night and he grinned at Deepika. It would be alright her knew. He starred at his best friend and now maybe.. Just maybe a little more than that..
"So did you manage to get over me?.." He asked cheekily as both started back home.. "I was waiting for you to ask me.. I knew you will catch on to it.." Deepika replied laughing..
After some time she replied back sincerely. "No I did not.. I just missed you more. Specially because I could not ask my best friend to help me out this time. Why do you think I came back?" Deepika questioned looking sideways at Jigar.
The car came to a screeching halt outside Modi Bhavan. "I am glad you did." said Jigar smiling as both made their way inside.
"Ji. Your bracelet.." Gopi extended her hand to give Aham his bracelet. Aham looked up and smiled. He just extended his arm so that she could put the bracelt on for him. As she walked near him to reach for his hand, he placed the other hand on Gopi's shoulder and pulled her a little closer to him. Gopi just kept her eyes down as though concentrating on the bracelet. She fumbled with the clasp as though affected by his nearness. But Aham saw her blush and smile shyly. She looked lovely.
Aham held Gopi closely to his side and both of them walked back to the car. He opened the passenger's door and made sure she got in comfortably. He was immediately in his seat and he started the car in silence. As soon as they were in cruising mode Aham caught Gopi's right hand in his left and smiled at her. She smiled back. "We will be home soon" He said as she just nodded. The next time Aham glanced at her, he saw that she had fallen asleep. He smiled and lifted her hand to plant a kiss.
Back home, he gently lifted her and carried her to their room. He knew she was exhausted. Gopi just held on to him in her sleep. He placed her on the bed and decided to remove the heavier of her jewellery to make her comfortable. When he moved his hand, he found Gopi clutching his bracelet tightly as though she was loath to let go. He smiled and gently unclasped the bracelet. He then proceeded to remove her necklace, ear rings and the anklets. Gopi slept on..
When Aham came back from the washroom, he found Gopi on her side, still clasping the bracelet for life. Her face was troubled as though she was having nightmares. Aham sat near her and slowly ran his hand on top of her head. "Its Ok. I am here.. Shh.." he said softly. Then he silently lay next to her on his side and held her to him. He ran his hand sofly over hers soothingly. Gopi slowly fell into a calm sleep holding on to his hand.
Gopi's hand seemed to have a mind of is own. She continued fumbling with the clasp. She knew she was blushing crazy. But she had never ever felt like this in her life. It was as though she was floating. She felt Aham move a little more near her and her thoughts went astray. Not that she was not enjoying the closeness..
Gopi woke up in the morning disoriented. But she felt fresh and warm. Her outburst the night before had been a relief. She felt herself feeling much lighter and happier than she had ever been. She tried to get up and she noticed that she was enclosed in Aham's arms. He was sleeping peacefully with her in embrace...
Gopi slowly raised his arm from hers and placed it on his side. Aham did not stir. She turned around to face him. For one moment, her heart stopped. She was mesmerized by the face that had held her captive right from the day she saw his picture in the newspaper. He was now hers and only hers. This thought always gave a sense of complete contentment and that day it was no different. "My Ahamji." She slowly whispered and placed her hand on his cheek without disturbing him. Then she got down to get ready for the day. It was then she noticed her other hand holding the bracelet tightly. His bracelet...
Gopi finally finished the job at hand and looked up. She could see Aham smiling at her and she again blushed. "Aww! No not again Gopi! Don't blame me now.." He said and quickly bent down to place a kiss on her cheek very near her mouth. Gopi's heart burst with unknown feelings and she quickly turned around freeing herself and ran out..
That night was never mentioned again by the four. But to all the four, it was the night that changed their relationship forever. It was the night they took the initial steps in taking their relation to the next level from where they never turned back.
How do you like it? The couples needed to take their relationship to the next level. So now everyone is clear of the others intentions. For Aham and most of all Gopi, there was a need for both of them to understand how physically comfortable they are with each other and how attracted they feel. Again, although it is just a start for Jigar and Deepu, they are now already accepting the fact that they are more than friends. Their relation is bound to pick up fast. Your comments and feedback please!!!