A/N: Last chapter! I do apologize for the delay, I was planning to post this much before, but I haven't even had time to be lazy, let alone write since school started. Again, IB students will sympathize. Personally, not too happy with the last bit of this chapter, but tell me what you guys thought. I will write an epilogue, as some people have asked for it, and I think this story would be incomplete without an epilogue. Since I started with a preface, I should end with an epilogue, right? The whole circle of life thing… Anyway, without further ado, I present to you, chapter eight of Ignoscentia
Chapter 8- A Realisation
No. Absolutely not.
There was just no justification for doing it. Yet...
I took a deep breath, and pushed the leather-bound book away from me. There was no sense in looking over old memories. None of it mattered after how much I'd been hurt in the past year. Especially after the dramatic declaration that Kabir and Sam made in front of my drama class. Funny, how every time I tried to get away from them, they came running back, and every time I tried to go after them, they ran away.
After their speech about me being 'the heart' of our 'trio', (which really, wasn't valid anymore because let's face it, our trio was destroyed months ago...) I was terrified, and livid. I came straight home, even though there were two more periods left of school. I just...didn't think I'd be able to deal with all the questions,
of people who didn't know I existed until today afternoon. Considering Sam and Kabir's popularity, I figured there would a plethora of unwanted advice and questions awaiting me at school next day.
I groaned, placing my head against the cool, glass paned table. Why did Sam and Kabir have to apologize in the most dramatic way possible, and in public?!
When were people going to realize that words were useless? I know, coming from a writer that's quite hypocritical, but its true. You know the saying actions speak louder than words? Well, its true. I found that out when Sam and Kabir started ignoring me, eleven months ago. Their empty promises rang in my ears, as I was thrown to the side and completely forgotten by two people I had considered my best friends.Damn it!
That stupid book...it was staring straight at me, with its alluring scent of memories that I wished I could forget. Maybe one
look wouldn't hurt...
I grabbed the book off my study table, and walked over to my bed, practically falling on it in emotional exhaustion. My hand faltered over the cover. Should I do this?
Ah, hell! Its not like taking the safe route has helped me in life. Taking a deep breath, I flipped open the book. Three toddlers, barely two years old were grinning, flashing their newly formed milk teeth at me.
The girl in the middle, wearing a hideous blue frock, was wearing a tiara that her sister had put on her. The two boys were in dungarees, and were eyeing the ice cream that was placed just in front of them. I couldn't help but smile.Three little kids, a little over four, were standing together, around a birthday cake.
The girl in the middle had pigtails now, and was covered in chocolate frosting. The two boys on either side of her had their hands smeared with chocolate frosting. They were holding the girls face, forcing her to smile, as they grinned evilly by her side. I couldn't help but laugh.Three kids, just about ten.
The two boys were wearing the weirdest costumes. The shorter of the two was dressed as a cowboy, and the taller as an astronaut- Andy and Buzz Light-Year from Toy Story. The girl was sitting on some sort of makeshift throne, and looked devastated. I remembered this; it was one of my most cherished memories. I couldn't help but love what my ex-best friends used to be.
I flipped past picture by picture. Of us washing Sam and my dogs, of our first day of middle school and high school. Of Holis, Diwalis, Christmases and Eids. Of fractures and broken baby teeth. Of learning to ride bikes and how to swim. Of funerals and birthdays. Of role-plays, childhood fantasies and dreams. Of cooking together, and eating together. Of tired heads on shoulders, and pin downs during wrestling. Of getting caught while kissing. Of formal dances and functions. Of smiles and tears. Of glares and fears. Of absurdity, and sensibility. Of every single emotion, shade and sense in life...
I snapped the book shut, and rolled over on my tummy, facing the ceiling of my room. They were still here.
The stars that Kabir and Sam had stuck on my ceiling, because I had told them once that I wanted to sleep under the stars. Just one
mention of the fact that I loved sleeping under the stars, and they spent their whole Saturday putting on those glow in the dark stars on my ceiling.
They were the ones that had fixed our satellite when it was acting all weird, and helped paint my room. They had covered up for me when I crashed a golf cart in Kabir's parents' country club. They were the ones who helped out the most after our parents were gone. They were the ones who helped me calm di down. They were the ones who...
I was starting to see pattern in all the photos in the book. It was simple. I couldn't believe I hadn't seen it before! I had been so blind! There was only one constant in all the photos. Them.
"Oh my god.." I shot up into a sitting position, and then it hit me, like a ton of bricks. They had always been there.
"Did she say anything about our presentation?" Sam asked for the twentieth time. I knew that for a fact, because I had been counting.
"No. For the twentieth time, all she did was take the book, and then I walked away." I answered, rolling his eyes. I was running very thin on my patience. It was endearing that Kabir and Sam were so concerned about the 'Alya situation', but they were beginning to get on my nerves.
"But how do you know she's going to read it?" Kabir insisted, a hint of panic and disbelief in his voice. I let out an impatient sigh, before answering his question.
"I don't. But I'm pretty sure she will."
"What if she doesn't?" It was Sam this time, who pestered me.
I stopped in my tracks, and turned to face my two (at the moment) extremely irritating band mates. It was ridiculous! They were acting like children waiting for the newest nerf gun to come out! I hadn't ever been so impatient about anything, not even the seventh Harry Potter!
"Then we'll think of another way to get her to forgive you. Okay? Now can you guys shut up?"I received two very startled nods, and shaking my head, I walked faster.
I didn't trust the boys; there was a very slim chance that they wouldn't have other insecurities that needed to be answered. I only paused when he reached Sam's house (where we usually go after-school). Pushing open the gate, I climbed up the stairs to the front door, and paused again when I saw something kept on the welcome mat.
"Oh no..." I picked up a worn out, leather bound book. The same one that I had handed to Alya a few hours ago.
"I was so sure...With the chocolate strawberries she couldn't..." I muttered nonsensically to myself, as Sam and Kabir approached the main door.
"Hey, Jay, what's the problem?" Asked Sam, as he saw my furrowed brow and quizzical expression. I looked up at Sam and Kabir, the confusion replaced by an incredibly apologetic look.
"I'm sorry guys..." I said, my mouth turned upside down, as I held up the book. There was a short silence, as the boys tried to remember the significance of the book. When it hit them, their faces fell.
"She...didn't see it?" Asked Kabir, his voice quite scratchy, which both Sam and I knew meant that he was on the verge of tears.
"I...I guess not..." I replied, lowering his eyes, ashamed. I had been so sure
she would read it. I felt so terribly sorry for ,y band mates and friends. They had been extremely excited to see Alya again. Now, I felt bad for being irritated with them before.
"Its alright man. We'll think of something else." Sam patted Kabir and me on their backs reassuringly, offering a half-hearted smile. It didn't work, but it was a nice attempt.
"Let's just...go inside." Said Kabir, hugging the book against his chest.
Sam and I nodded, and I stepped aside to let Sam open the door. We walked inside with dampened spirits and pathetic, battered expressions. Once inside, we slumped down on seats in the living room.
Sighing, Kabir opened the book and started flipping through it. With every picture, I could see, he felt like a knife was stabbing him in his stomach. He wanted so badly
for things to be okay with Alya. He wanted to laugh, and smile and act silly for no apparent reason. He was so sick
and tired of...
He flipped back a few pages, running his eyes across the page. When he didn't see what he was looking for, he slowly flipped over, and scanned the page. With growing urgency, he flipped the page over again, and repeated the routine. His roving eyes froze, as he finally found what he was looking for. The expression on his face changed dramatically in the course of the next thirty seconds, as he read over a message scrawled in blue ink.
"Sam! Jay! Come here!" He exclaimed, grinning widely. I poked Sam, and incredibly perturbed, wearily, we walked over to Kabir.
"What is it?" Asked Sam, maintaining a small distance between Kabir and him. I have a feeling that he had a suspicion that Kabir had finally lost it after all their failed attempts.
"Look at this!" Kabir demanded, thrusting the book in Sam's hands, still grinning manically.
"Why are you..." Sam faltered, as his eyes fell on the message. As he read it, his eyes widened, and he adopted an expression similar to Kabir's.
"What is it?" I asked, slightly interested, plopping down on the sofa. I was too tired to bother to read whatever it was that brought so much joy to my friends.
"Its a message in Al's writing. It says, apology accepted. The headquarters are now open for business. And then there's a smiley face."
"She did see it!" Kabir cried out, jumping out of the sofa, laughing.
"What are the headquarters?" I asked, still a little apprehensive about the message. Could she really have forgiven them?
"Its what we used to called the tree house." Sam explained, slapping Kabir on the back to make him stop laughing before he choked on his own spit or something.
"Do you think she's there right now?" Asked Kabir, pausing in his hysterical manner of celebrating. He was...overwhelmed, to say the least.
"Why don't we go check?" Kabir and Sam smiled at each other, and without giving another thought to me, their band mate, and lets face it, the reason Alya forgave them, ran out of the room. No one appreciates the hard working man behind the scenes.
Panting, Sam and Kabir climbed the rope ladder leading to the top of the tree house. By the time they reached the top, they were out of breath, and collapsed on the floor of the tree house. Al turned around as their bodies fell to the floor with a loud thud, and burst into peals of laughter at their disheveled state.
"Al!" They managed to wheeze out. She giggled, and walked over to them, offering both of them a hand. Gratefully, they took her hand and she pulled them up.
"You forgive us?" Kabir asked eagerly, nearly ready to bounce on the balls of his feet.
"Yes." She replied, smiling (for the first time in twelve months) a genuine Alya smile at them. The one, which showed the happiness in her eyes as well.
Barely a second passed before Sam and Kabir jumped on top of Alya, wrapping their arms around her and nearly squeezing the life out of her in a suffocating hug. She sputtered, and tried to push them away, but they held on to her firmly. It was only her coughing that made them realize that they might be stopping the flow of oxygen to her lungs, and slightly abashed, retrieved from the hug.
"Thank you." She said, in mock anger. They threw her an apologetic look, now thoroughly embarrassed. Alya laughed, and unable to resist the temptation, threw her arms around them, pushing them close to her.
"Its alright. I'm super happy and excited too." She whispered, burying her head in one of their shirts.
They both kissed her on top of her head, and closing their eyes, savored the moment. Pretty soon, the moment ended, as Sam's phone beeped loudly. Groaning, the three detached themselves from each other, and Sam put his phone on silent, ignoring the message.
"So...how did you decide to forgive us?" He asked, his eyes now on Alya.
"Please. Its so obvious that our speeches won her over." Kabir answered, waggling his eyebrows in an incredibly creepy manner at Alya. Alya laughed, slapping Kabir on his shoulder.
"You're so creepy Kabir. And no, it wasn't your speech." Kabir's face fell, as Sam snorted contemptuously at Kabir.
"It was the book. When I went through it, I realized that..." She sighed, running a hand through her hair. She wasn't quite sure how to explain it, but supposed that Kabir and Sam would understand her anyway. They nearly always did.
"You guys were there when my first baby tooth fell, on my first day for pre-school, primary school, middle school and even high school. You were there when I fractured my leg, when that guy in first grade made fun of my hair, and you helped me beat him up. You were there when mom and dad died and when Tobi died. You were there for everything,
and every time, you tried to make me happy, keep me happy, make me relaxed or just...help make life easier for me. I was seriously annoyed after your speeches, because after you guys started ignoring me, I didn't believe in words. I mean...I had this belief, which I guess I still do, that actions speak louder than words. And before that, I thought you guys hadn't done all that you had promised to do, but then I realized you'd kept nearly all of them. The promises. Except the one of never leaving me alone...but I guess that's because of the misunderstandings. And, it's not fair to punish you when you sincerely feel sorry. Everyone makes one mistake. Kabir's was to take Sam's side. Sam's was to believe that I hated him, and mine was to behave like I did. So, if you can forgive my
mistake, why can't I forgive yours?"
"We love you!" For the third time in the span of five minutes, the three reunited friends hugged each other. They couldn't help it! They were just so freaking happy at being together again.
"You guys should thank Jay. He was the one who insisted that I should look over the book."
"Yeah, we should." Sam agreed, making a mental note to kiss Jay on the head and hug him tight the next time he saw him. Kabir made a mental note to touch his feet and tell him he's a genius, and a relationship guru. So, in short, the boys weren't really going to thank him, but just use the opportunity as an excuse to mess with Jay. Ah...boys...
"You know this doesn't mean everything will go back to the way it was, right?" Alya persisted. Kabir and Sam nodded, hoping that Alya would shut up soon.
"I mean...its going to take time and its not like-"
"Just shut up and let us enjoy the moment."
There's no 'the end' to it. Not yet. Got to wait for the epilogue . WIll try to post it soon, but no promises. Im going up in the mountains and staying in a tent next week. Ill see when I get to write. But there will be an epilogue. I promise you that.