Part 21 (Maaneet)
"Yahaan maine apna dil tumhare saamne nikaal ke rakh dia, aur tum mere itne se sawal ka jawaab nahi de sakti", he said in a mocking tone, and felt her grip tighten around him. Something was definitely bothering her.
"Its ok Geet, tum nahi batana chahti to mat batao. Main toh sirf mazaak kar raha tha", he rubbed her back, when she broke the hug. She said nothing, but held his hand, and led him to sit on a bench. When both of them sat down, she slipped her hand in her bag, and took out a bunch of wrapped up sandwiches. Maan saw her silently, but the sight of sandwiches made him realize how hungry he was, as a growl escaped his stomach. She broke a bite of the sandwich, and put it in front of his mouth. He looked at her as she nodded slightly, and opened his mouth. He closed his mouth, and she pulled back her hand with a sudden jerk, as his lips touched her fingers. His face fell at this, but he tried acting normal. Then she took out a cup and removed its lid, and gave it to him. He saw the coffee floating with foam, and drank a sip, as he savoured it, to let the cold liquid calm him.
"I knew you would be hungry, so i picked these up on my way", she said, and his eyes flew open.
"Tumhe bhi kuch kha lena chahiye", he said, and fed her from the same sandwich. He raised the coffee to her lips, but she refused, and made him drink another sip. She saw the foam of the coffee stick around his lips, and without a warning, she bent her face to him, sucking the coffee as she kissed him. Maan felt the fire in him rise, but he clenched the bench with his hands, lest he lost control again. When she didn't feel him respond, she backed off. Immediately, she folded her knees to her chest, bent and hid her head by crossing her arms around her. Maan's senses hit an alert, as he felt confused by such a reaction. He turned to her, and tried raising her head placing his hands on her shoulders, but she didn't give in.
"Geet yaar, kya hua, kuch to batao? Aise kaise chalega, bolo Geet ki hua kya hai?", at this, she lifted her face, and he saw a few tears flowing.
"I can't tell you Maan, i just can't", she whispered, as his voice spoke his question, "kyunki... kyunki if i tell you, to tum mere baare mein achha nahi sochoge", she sighed.
"Geet, tumhe mujh par aur mere pyaar per bharosa hai na?", she nodded in affirmative, and he continued, "Toh fir jo bhi problem hai, mujhe bata do, i promise to find a solution before you blink your eyes"
"I... uhm its embarrassing Maan", she tried reasoning with him, and he saw that her tears had stopped.
"I love you Geet, and nothing you say shall change that. Infact, nothing anyone says, or does, shall change the truth that i love you", he assured her.
"Erm... its... it's about... our closeness... physical i mean...", she started hesitatingly, as she avoided looking at him.
"Shit! Itni si baat, Geet, you scared me. I swear my breath was stuck right here", he pointed towards his neck, "Look, about that - i promise, i'll keep myself in control. I'll make sure to keep away from you, if my being near you makes you uncomfortable...", he was silenced as she cut him.
"Nahi na, chup ho jao tum", she shrieked suddenly, and glaringly pointed her finger at him. He saw the anger on her nose, and shut up his next words.
"Problem yeh nahi hai, infact... infact problem yeh hai, ki ... ki i ... i don't mind our closeness", Maan looked at her with wide eyes, unable to believe his ears. He slapped his face slightly, as he saw Geet cover her face with her palms. She seemed to be mumbling something, and his dazed state didn't let him figure what she was speaking. He put his ear next to her palms, but his effort went futile. Giving up, he removed her hands from her face, and she gasped, becoming silent, as if her words were choked in her throat.
"Geet, mujhe nahi bataogi kya hua hai", he knew it was something serious, and it wasn't the time to make jokes out of it.
"It's embarrassing Maan", she squeaked. He cupped her face, and spoke in a soft voice.
"Geet, tumhe mere saamne embarrass hone ki zarurat nahi hai. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and we shall be able to do that, only if we both trust and respect each other. I am ready to trust my life with you Geet, and just the thought of it is beautiful. Are you ready to trust me?"
Her eyes flew open at this, and she looked into his eyes, that reflected the pool of emotions in his heart. He was giving them both a chance, and she knew he deserved a chance too.
"Maan! My family has always had a broad outlook about everything. They are what you call the modern cool people. But I've been brought up with the dose of the Indian culture, and trust me, i am proud of it", she started.
"Sorry to interrupt you Geet, but, is this why you wear suits?", he let go of her face, and couldn't help but ask.
"Tumhe mere suits pasand nahi?", she immediately asked. He placed his hands on hers that lay on her lap.
"Nahi baba, infact i like you better in suits. I just asked out of curiosity", he said.
"Hmmm", she nodded her head, "I like wearing suits, and sometimes, other dresses as well", she looked down at her attire, "That's beside the point. The thing is, my values and traditions, they... er... what should i say... they kind of stop me from... becoming intimate with you", she looked at him helplessly.
"I can understand Geet, and trust me, i don't mind it at all", he squeezed her hands,
"But that's exactly what my heart doesn't want Maan", she sighed in frustration.
"Geet, mujhe kuch samajh nahi aa raha hai", he exclaimed.
"Maan! Have you ever wondered about why my parents are Bade Papa and Badi Ma", he looked at her, and nodded slightly, "It's because my parents died when i was too young. But i was mature enough to know that i'd been rendered homeless", she felt his hold tighten over her hands, "My mother's last words to me, were that Bade Papa was taking me with him, and i should make sure he never regrets his decision. I've tried all my life, that i never fail him Maan. My family has placed their trust on me, they love me blindfolded. And i never want that their eyes should be lowered because of me. Bade Papa, Badi Ma, bhai-bhabhi, Karishma di, Abhinav jiju, all of them, they've done for me more than what people do for their own blood. And i respect and love them too much to wrong them", she paused. Maan looked at her as he saw the various emotions flit across her face. He tried to fathom the meaning of her words, but he saw her busy with an inner turmoil. Did she mean that this relation of their, was a wrong act, which her family wouldn't approve of. She would choose her family over him, wouldn't she? He flinched as the thought crossed his mind, the thought of losing her.
"Karishma di and Abhinav jiju are engaged, and Abhinav jiju loves di like crazy. Infact, his love for di, is a little more than bhai's, for bhabhi", she showed the little, with her thumb and her index finger, "But... erm... they still haven't done it... i mean... you know what i mean", he saw the tint of pink form on her cheeks. She had addressed him, no doubt, but she didn't look at him. She knew his answer, and he knew her shyness. He smiled to himself. Here was a girl, who had the guts to initiate their closeness, and make him go haywire with her small actions. But still, she couldn't speak the 'forbidden word', without showing the variety of red and pink on her face. It was this behavior of hers that had made him fall in love with her.
"I am sure there's a strong reason ki tum mujhe apne jiju aur di ki ye legendary love story suna rahi ho", she looked up and saw the amusement dancing in his eyes. Immediately wiping the blush off her face, she continued.
"Karishma di has a very modern outlook towards everything in life. She's one independent woman, who takes her own decisions, and most of them land her against the family. But even then, she's aware of her limits, and she will never cross them"
"You never know the reality, right? Can you be sure that your di hasn't..."
"She's told me. I may not be the best sister, but she leaves no stone unturned, to abide by her role as my elder sister. She talks about herself, about jiju, about them, and she's confident of her decision. She told me that it was her decision that they'll take a step forward only after marriage. And jiju is very understanding, and loving. He agreed to her condition without any arguments"
The way Geet always worshipped her jiju, ignited a flare in Maan. According to her, he was the ideal man a girl could marry. He always made it out from her tone. So was she comparing him with her jiju, if he could pass her conditions like her jiju.
"So what? Usmein kaunsi badi baat hai. Maine bhi bola na ki i can control myself. It's not as if only your jiju can love your di. I love you too, and i can keep a check on my emotions until we get..."
He stopped mid-way, realizing what he was about to say. He was talking about getting married, and somehow, it seemed too early to bestow her with the promise of marriage.
She looked at him get worked up when she talked about Abhinav jiju, and smiling, she cupped up his face. The jealousy showed up on his face in slight red patches, as his nose puffed up, and he cut his sentence in between. She knew he was about to speak about their marriage.
He saw her smile, and a fear gripped him. Geet was smiling at the fact that he'd mentioned their marriage. But wasn't this what every girl wanted, a marriage and a happily settled future with the one person she loved? Come to think of it, he too wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He had no doubts about it. Her face had gripped his mind with a strength to never let go. His eyes opened and closed, only to watch her smile. He slept with her dreams, and woke up with her thoughts. Geet was the only girl he wanted, and kept wanting to want her. He knew he would never love anyone else like he loved her, and craved for her. If marriage was the way to it, then maybe he could do it, for her.
"Until we get married?", she raised her eyes in question, he was about to nod in response, when she continued, "We can't talk about marriage Maan, not yet", his eyes grew wide in shock at her reply, and a part of him did a little jig in relief.
"Don't look at me like i've just committed a crime. You really don't think we gan get married tomorrow, can we?", he shook his head in agreement, and realizing the import of his answer, he hung his face in shame and guilty. She had been holding his face, and now raised it.
"Don't feel guilty Maan, look at me", he fixed his eyes on hers, to search the pain he'd given her by this answer, but found only a pool of emotions, love to be precise.
"We both love each other, and we know we want to spend our lives together. But isn't it too early to talk about getting married. We have our studies and career, that need to be our first priority. Marriage is a big step, and we definitely need time, lots of time. Let's not just jump to the conclusion. Maybe, after some time, we may want different things out of life. And promising marriage to each other, shall just make things difficult. We've started out as friends, and we're more than friends at this stage, so let's just concentrate on the present", she finished, and let go of his face.
Maan should've been happy, that Geet did not want to discuss marriage right now. But then why did he feel a sinking feeling, as if he'd lost a very essential part of his survival. It should've been like someone lifted up the heavy weight off his heart, but instead, he felt more burdened, by disappointment.
She tried to smile, as she finished her perfect explanation. It was true she hadn't thought about marriage as of yet, not after she'd admitted to herself that she loved him, not even after he'd confessed his love to her. But in the deepest corner of her heart, she knew what she wanted. She wanted to sleep in his arms, and wake up beside him. She wanted her world to revolve around him, the center of her being. But she also knew that if she voiced her deepest desire, she might scare him off. She didn't want to lose him at any cost. And if avoiding marriage was all it took, she could do it. She could suppress her desires, and maintain a steady relationship with him.
"Geet, mujhe ab tak samajh nahi aaya ki problem kya hai. If you feel we shouldn't move ahead in our relation, then it's ok. Trust me, i'm fine with whatever you want. And i'm not doing this to prove that i can love like your jiju. You know me, right? My happiness lays with yours", he pressed her cheek, and closing her eyes, she pressed her face into his palm, as she felt his soft touch. This ignited the torch of passion within him, and he wondered how he would keep his promise, if she made him feel so out of control everytime.
"I like it when i'm close to you", she said, and immediately, turning her body to him, she clutched the corners of his shirt, whose first three buttons were open, and she hid her face in his chest. Opening her folded knees, she placed them down, shifting closer to him, such that their legs touched each other.His hands went to curl up around her waist, as he bent his face to hide in the crook of her neck. The shock of her statement made him forget his recently formed promise of keeping in control.
"Problem yehi to hai Maan, ki when i'm with you, everything seems so right. Lagta hie nahi ki kuch bhi galat ho raha hai", she spoke softly, her lips moving against his chest, causing the heat in him to rise and evaporate. But he couldn't believe if what she'd said was true. Placing his hands on her shoulder, he separated her, and she raised her head to look directly in his eyes.
"Tum jaanti ho Geet tum kya keh rahi ho?", he asked in a low hissing sound. She blinked her eyes in assurance.
"Mera dimaag tumse door rehne ko kehta hai, lekin mera dil, mera dil khudko tumhe saump chuka hai. Main chah ke bi kuch nahi kar sakti. Aur ajeeb baat ye hai ki main kuch karna hie nahi chahti"
"Geet...", came his plea to her to stop talking.
"Nahi Maan, i want to be with you. You are my desire, my Maan. I desire you, i want your heart, body and soul. I want to gift you with mine, my heart, body and soul", she finished softly.
"Geet, tum jaanti nahi tum kya bol rahi ho. I'm trying to bind the devil in me, but your words are making it difficult for me. Your words are just strengthning him, and if he manages to unleash himself, he'll ruin you. You know there's no room for marriage in our relation, not yet. And if, someday, we do plan to go separate ways, then this relationship, it shall break you into millions of shards, and i do not want that", he managed to say in a choking voice, the tears threatning an entrance.
"I told you Maan, to think about the present. Until now, i had an inner battle, between my mind and my heart. I didn't want to do anything that could hurt my family, but i forgot that they won't be hurt by my happiness. I had it all wrong. I am sure they'll support me in my decision, because this is what shall make me happy, giving myself away to you, to etch your name on my heart, to be yours forever", she assured him.
"My lust for you shall destroy you Geet, why don't you understand?", he asked in slight frustration.
"Lust is not what you feel for me Maan. If it were lust, you could've taken any one of the girls who throw themselves at you. You know the fact that some of them are better than me. Yet, you want me. Its because you love me more than you yourself know, and i know you won't break my heart", she smiled at him.
"If you think you can convince me to get married..."
"Oh fo Maan, maine kaha na, mujhe tumse shadi nahi karni, tumhe ye baat samajh kyun nahi aati?", saying this, she hid her face in his chest. As soon as she did that, Maan felt her soft lips plant small kisses on his bare chest. He regretted the lack of a vest, which he'd not worn in his hurry to reach the college, not that the vest could've helped much the way his body reacted to her touch. Her fingers worked their way where she had left a trace of kisses, and out of the blue, she bit him softly right above his heart. He whimpered softly, his hands making their way on her back, pushing her towards him tightly. He grazed the small of her back, as he caressed the skin beneath her blouse. He made patterns with his fingers in a sensuous manner, such that she groaned in pleasure, and arched her neck. He started kissing the base of her throat, and hurriedly, his mouth found hers. He kissed her intensely, making her stomach roll over in joy.
They threw apart when a loud shrill dawned the reality of their location. He ruffled his hair, making a mess out of them, and she calmed her breath, when he realized that it was the tone of his cell that had broken their kiss. Cursing the caller under his breath, he pressed the call button.
"Haan Tara, kya kaam hai?", he uttered in irritation even before Tara could speak something. Tara heard the edge of irritation to his voice, and decided to get straight to the point.
"Bhai, Geet aapke saath hai kya? Woh apna phone nahi utha rahi, aur aapko hie dhund rahi thi. Toh mujhe laga, ki aapko shayad pata ho woh kahan hai", she asked.
"Haan! Woh yehi hai, kuch kaam tha?", he knew Geet wasn't in a state to talk to anyone right now.
"Exactly kaam to kuch nahi tha, bas us se kuch baat karni thi", Tara hesitated.
"Ok!", he paused for a few seconds, "Geet about 15 minute mein aa rahi hai, we need to work out a strategy for the newspaper, tum sab canteen chalo, theek hai?", saying this, he cut the call, and closed his eyes, as everything reeled in his mind. He felt her hand caress his hair. Opening his eyes, he saw her standing in front of him. She moved her hand in his hair, smoothening the mess he'd created. Leaning towards him, she planted a kiss on his cheek.
"Chalein? Sab wait kar rahe hain", she forwarded her hand. He took it, but pulled her back to sit next to him.
"We'll go in a while, i've bought some time from Tara", he pleaded, and she complied. They sat there silently, holding each other's hand, staring in the space.
"Maan, ek baat poochhu?"
"Why did everything become so complicated? Last i remember, we were on agreeable terms, fir sab kuch... ek-dum se change kaise ho gaya?"
"What are you exactly aiming at?"
"I dunno! Its just that if i replay the past few days in my mind, i have no idea why things happened the way they did? We could've been together earlier, but things kept coming up, tearing us apart. Why?", she spoke up, the pain visible in her eye.
"I know, it was no less than a roller-coaster. I was at fault, definitely, but somewhere, even you contributed", he said in a tone where she realized that she knew he wasn't accusing her, but stating the facts.
"I agree! I'd never planned to fall for you, as I'd felt a pull towards you right from the first day. You know, it was because of your eyes, they captivated me. But, my plans failed, as i was head over heel in love, with you. I made an endeavour to stay away, but somehow, you always managed to find me. I was so aware of your presence, so much involved in you, that... when i saw you with Khuranaa, it shook my insides-out", she finished the last part softly.
"We didn't kiss, i swear..."
"I know, but that moment is splashed on my mind. How much ever i want, i'm unable to throw it. Even today, the thought of you being with Khuranaa, haunts me"
He could see the torture her heart had borne, and continued to do so, in this moment.
"Because... your face had taken over my mind and my heart. Everywhere, i saw you smiling at me, and that day was no different. In Khuranaa's advances towards me, i saw your inviting face, to make you mine, and it was a temptation beyond resistance. It wasn't the physical appeal, but the overwhelmed joy at realizing that you reciprocated my feelings. Only, it was all a trance, and the girl was Khuranaa", the tears shone bright in her eyes, but they didn't fall.
"I... I'm so sorry Maan, i've been... a fool not to understand. I went back home, with a broken heart. And as much as i thought, i realized, that maybe it was God's sign, to tell me, that we weren't meant to be. A deep corner of my heart did know, that you hadn't kissed, but i thought i interrupted you guys, that's why. Then, again, i decided to be uneffected by you. But, in the hearts of heart, i couldn't throw you out. I thought you liked Khuranaa, because of her style of dressing, and her outgoing personality. I tried experimenting with mine, maybe, i'd wanted you to notice me, while i could take the liberty of ignoring you", she blushed.
"You managed successfully, to pull my attention, not that you didn't have it previously, but after that little stunt of yours, i was totally lost. So much that when you extended that hand of friendship, i forgot that i didn't want to be just friends with you. Infact, your actions took me over to an extent, that in the car, while trying to clearify about Khuranaa and me, i busted the whole issue out. Your decision to keep away was totally fair. But, i didn't realize it then, i was so offended by your ignorance. I didn't understand that unknowingly, my words had hurt you. I could only feel my pain, you didn't want to talk to me, and that hurt me", he messed his hair.
"It turned so bad, that you cornered me right after we finished our work?", she raised an eyebrow.
"You've no idea how much. As if your ignorance wasn't enough, your closeness with that Archie of yours just added injury to my pain. He was a fuel to my fire, and i've never hated anyone, how much i hated him that day, despite knowing that he was committed to Khushi"
"If you were hurting, you've no idea what i was going through Maan. Arnav has been embedded in my childhood, i can't separate him from there. And to be honest, i don't even want to. He's the only link i have to my happy memories. My family, my friends, you, you all have a very special place in my heart. But Arnav has his own space, and that is a forever fact, no one can change it, not even Arnav himself"
"I know, you left that letter for him, and i heard him read it. After that, even if i want to, i am unable to feel jealous of him. Maybe i've got a little understanding of how important he is to you"
"Thank you, for this revelation. You know i would never have been able to chose one of you, never", the gratitude was audible in her voice, and his heart felt the unsaid contentment.
"But, that night, i'd never thought you could ever initiate..", he tried to find some decent words, so that she wasn't embarrassed.
"I'd already lost you once, to Khuranaa, and the after effects were bad. That day, as much as i wanted to listen to your clearification, i was afraid. What if you might throw me out of your life, by telling me that i'd intruded on a special moment for you both? Your eyes shouted me the truth throughout the day, that it wasn't Khuranaa you were pursuing, yet i didn't have it in me to bear a rejection, just in case. In the jungle, i was ready for anything that came my way, because you were there with me. I was scared, like bad, for us, but i was also grateful that even if the situation worsened, i was secure in your arms. And then... when i was in your arms, my mind was full of so many things, that it felt easier to give up to my desires. The passion of the moment, and your eyes burnt through my soul, and... and...", she left the words hanging in the air, "But... but things changed the next day. You turned totally aloof on me, and... i had no idea why, that was the worse part. I had no way to make you talk to me, you'd cut off yourself from me. Why?", she asked in exasperation, and couldn't believe when she saw the color creep up on his neck and ears, "I don't believe it. I'm asking you something so serious, and... you're blushing. You're impossible Maan", snatching her hand from his, she got up to walk off, but he pulled her back and seated her.
"Geet, agar tum meri side sunogi story ki, then you shall laugh at me"
"Maan, koi pagal hie hoga, jise itni zaroori baat pe hasi aayegi"
"Matlab tum nahi hasogi?", he asked, and when she nodded, he continued, "Woh jab Abhimanyu tumhe lene aaya tha, toh... i thought... i mean, i assumed... that he, he wasn't your brother... but a prospective life partner", he'd shut off his eyes, to block away her laughter, and when he did open his eyes, he saw the seriousness swimming on her face.
"You thought... that Bhai and me...?", her eyes widened in shock, "What were you thinking Maan?"
"I dunno, just that, everything was so abrupt, that i ended up thinking that Abhimanyu was chosen for you by your family, and that he was the best guy for you. I know i know...", when he saw her open her mouth to say something, "I feel stupid for thinking all these stupid things. I had realized that i loved you, and that you too, liked me, if not loved. But at that time, the prospect of you going against your family for me, by refusing Abhimanyu, just didn't strike up as the best thing. Finally, yesterday, i realized what beautiful arrows i'd been throwing in the dark, and then, i just couldn't wait, to tell you, that i loved you, lest something else came in between", he made a face.
"It means, that you put yourself and me, through the torture, because of one silly stupid misunderstanding, because you didn't wan't me to fight my family, for... for Bhai?", she tried to digest this piece of information, while he cursed himself, and suddenly felt her jump on him, to hug him.
"I love you Maan, with all your stupidities, because of them infact, i love you so much", she managed to surprise him with her reaction.
After a while, they both got up. He started walking, when he felt a tug on his hand. Looking back, he saw Geet still standing there. He raised his eyes to ask what happened.
"Maan, agar hum baaki sab ko apne baare mein na batayein, to koi problem hogi?", she asked.
"Problem to nahi hogi, lekin sabse hamare bare mein chhupana kyun? Are you ashamed to be with me?", he asked.
"Maan, tum kyun har cheez ko galat lete ho. Didn't i just tell you, being with you is the best thing that has happened to me, ever. I don't want others to know about us, because i don't wanna face all the questions they'll have for us. I shall feel uncomfortable, if someone tries to tease us, even if its our friends. What i share with you, is a feeling no other person can understand. They'll think of us as any other couple who hangs around, and i don't want our relation to be a topic for other's jibe", she explained.
"I know what you mean Geet", he remembere Tara's words to him, when they'd talked in his bedroom, that how Geet and him could never be together, "They can never understand why we fell for each other", he said.
"We don't even want them to understand, ok? We're happy with each other, and that's all what matters. I'm just worried about one thing. If Tara comes to know about us, and the fact that we hid it from her, she'll be hurt", she voiced her worry.
"Tara ki chinta tum mat karo. I'll handle her. She just can't say anything to us for not telling her the truth", he smirked, thinking of her words. He would use Tara's own words if she ever accused them of hiding the truth, "Bas, Dev agar kuch bola, to tumhe sambhalna hoga", he told her.
"Dev will be fine, i know him", she smiled.
"Great, all sorted, let's go", they started walking hand in hand, "Geet, tumne competition mein woh gaana kyun gaya, why didn't you sing the one that you'd taken out of the bowl?", he questioned out of the blue. He didn't have to look at her, to see that she was red faced right now.
"I... I thought the song would make you see some sense, of how i felt for you", she spoke.
"Hmmm, i'd thought as much. Aur ek baat, why didn't you call me by my name since the start?", if she'd been embarassed earlier, he didn't want to imagine what was now, as he saw the heat rise up in the hand he was holding.
"Your name made me realize how much love i carried for you in my heart. I wanted to stay away from you. But all those things just came back when i voiced your name. It weren't my lips that called you, it was my heart", she replied.
"Thank you for being so honest with me Geet. I know you don't let out your secrets to anyone. But trust me, i am very happy that you opened up your heart to me, that you let me see the real you. Thank you", saying this, he kissed her forehead, as they walked off.
The two of them entered the canteen bustling with students. They found their friends immersed in a discussion, at the cornermost table. Reaching them, Maan pulled out a chair and let Geet sit first, as he settled into another one. This act of his raised a few eyebrows.
"Cough cough. Yeh kya ho gaya? Congress and BJP came on a truce, now did they?", Tara chuckled, and Maan felt the anger rise in him. Geet sensed the change in his mood, and held his hand beneath the table, blinking in assurance at him.
"Our fights never reached the point of pulling each other's hair. So don't you and Dev deserve to play the Congress and BJP", Geet played her turn. Color flooded to Dev and Tara's face, as they recalled the countless times they'd practically pulled each other's hair out.
"Hey! Keep me out of this, i don't mind if Maan and you, do come on a truce", Dev threw his hands up in surrender and Geet smiled at him. Maan was surprised, Geet had defended him, them, against Tara, Tara who was her sisterly best friend. Suddenly the warmth she'd been trying to send to him came whooshing to his heart, and he felt his heart leap in joy when he realized that she stood by him.
"Main to sirf tum logon ki taang kheech rahi thi", Tara uttered, a little bowled over by Geet's reply, "Anyways, Geet, its weekend, and i was wondering that we could spend it together, if you have no other plans, that is", she finished in a soft voice. Geet's heart melted seeing Tara's fallen face. Come what may, Tara was after all her best-friend, and she was sure she'd hurt her by her bitter reply. She immediately wrapped her hand around Tara,
"Tara, kya tum bhi, chhoti se baat per muh fula ke baith gayi. Obviously i'll spend the weekend with you, until and unless Dev doesn't mind, that is", she rolled her eyes.
"Areh tum uski tension mat lo. He was anyways planning to spend his weekend with the guys, haina Dev?", she fluttered her eyes at him, while he just gave her an angry stare. Geet realized that something was brimming amongst the two, but she decided to keep quiet.
"As long as no one has a problem, i'm okay too", Geet shrugged.
"So then it's decided, you all shall come to my home for a pajama party. It's friday today, all of you come home tomorrow, and we'll spend the two days having a blast. Our pajama party is scheduled for tomorrow night, whatsay?", Tara jumped up in her seat, while everyone around cheered the plan.
"Ah Tara, i'll need to take permission from Bhai", Geet voiced.
"Bhai ki tension tu mat le. Apna phone de mujhe, main abhi poochh leti hu", Tara dialed the number, and after a lot of buttering and convincing, and the fact that Dev would also be there, did Abhimanyu agree to let Geet go. They all decided to go back home, as they had nothing to be done in the college, and lots to be done at home. Tara pulled Geet, saying that they would go with Maan, and that let Dev go alone. Geet softly pulled her hand, and pushed Tara towards a waiting Dev, telling her that Maan would drop her home, and she needed to sort things with Dev. The couples headed towards their respective cars in silence, and drove off.
Geet saw that Maan was extremely silent in the car.
"Kya hua Maan, is there a problem? Aren't you happy that we'll be together for the weekend", she asked.
"I am happy Geet, i just wish we could've been alone. I wanted to spend some time with you, not with everyone around", he said as he twisted the steering.
"I want that too, but i'm sure we'll manage something", she assured him. He pulled the car, as they arrived at her place. She descended the car, when he called her. She leaned on the window, to listen to him.
"When will i see you next?", he asked. She could see the longing in his eyes.
"Maan, relax. I know we want to spend as much time together as we can, but that's not how life moves. We have many other responsibilities, and they need our equal attention. We cannot possibly overlook them, can we?", she tried explaining.
"Says the girl, who wanted to give herself away to me a few hours back", Maan mused, but couldn't continue, as he received a call from his father. He cut the call, and pushed the key in the engine.
"Geet, dad wants to meet me right now. I gotta go. I'll see you tomorrow", giving her a flying kiss, he raced the car, leaving a thoughtful Geet standing there, the import of his words sinking in her.
Senselessly, Geet managed to clamber to her room, and throwing off her bag on the bed, she herself landed with a thump.
'Says the girl, who wanted to give herself away to me a few hours back'
The words played back in her mind, and she realized the intensity of each one of them.
What had she been thinking, when she'd said she wanted to take such a big step? It was true, being with Maan, knowing that he belonged to her, had given her a new sense of freedom. Her life had found a new meaning. And it was true enough, she did like being with him, even if it was their physical intimacy. She just couldn't ignore the fact that he churned something in her stomach with his kisses, all those butterflies fluttered up. But also, she knew she could never take that big step in their relation. True, by revealing to him that she wanted him badly, she'd led him on a path she knew she could never tread upon.
What must Maan be thinking about her? Would he consider her to be shameless for possessing such thoughts about him? He definitely must think she was such a fake, claiming to be a traditional valued girl yet the owner of such thoughts. She cursed herself mentally, and wanted to clear it out all immediately. But she stopped herself, this wasn't something she could talk to him about on the phone. Thinking that talking to him about this when they meet tomorrow would be the best option, she post-poned the idea of calling him. The rest of the day passed uneventfully. She packed her overnight bag for staying at the Khurana's at night. She knew it was about time that Maan would call her. So she typed a text for him, stating that she was tired, and was going to sleep early. She didn't forget to mention that she loved him, typing a heart in the end.