"Riya," he pouted as she picked the call.
"What happened?" She put the towel away on her bed.
"I am clueless, I have to buy things for family but I don't know the G of gift," He complained like a baby, "please help Riya."
"What would you have done if I had not been here?" She teased him.
"I would have not been buying gift for them had it not been your presence," he praised her.
She flustered and bit her lips. Something was happening to her. "Sure Arjun, how about you tell me of their likes?" She asked with a smile. Man could be grown up baby, it amazed her.
"My mom, she loves to cook and to pamper me," he said with tongue-in-cheek.
"Hmm, set of cups?" She asked, flickering her finger on her lips.
"She has a plenty sets," he said dejectedly.
"How about a family tree?" She suggested
"Nice idea," he thought and went to the section she had told him. He picked up and put in the trolley. He just would have to attach frames on tree branches along pictures. "Now about dad., he is strict but loves me a lot, he is an astute business man, a sharp shark."
"A wallet... a leather wallet or a pen," she said thoughtfully.
"Got it," he replied after he put the leather wallet in the trolley and on second thought took another, same, for her father. Now he was in a dilemma, he had to buy gifts for her family but he could not tell her, he wanted it to be a surprise. "The next is my aunty, she loves to sew,"
"A complete kit of sewing," she said happily.
They completed the list like that and Arjun finally said happily, "Now a gift for a beautiful, wonderful friend of mine but I will manage this one alone, thank you Riya."
He wanted to buy Riya a gift as per his choice, without her help to see her surprise. He had cut the call excitingly. He could not take her help to buy her a gift anyways, that was not his style. He had to buy her gift on his own. It was first but he felt it won't be the last.
Riya frowned with an unpleasant expression on her face. 'Beautiful?' 'Wonderful?' "who the hell could she be? of course it had to be a woman... A man can not be beautiful," she mused, feeling of jealousy in her heart.
"Why am I angry?" She thought with shock.
Was she angry? More like jealous. How could she be jealous of Arjun praising another woman. That thought left a bitter taste in her mouth.
Grugging, she pushed back those thoughts, concentrating on her task at hand.
Arjun went to the payment counter and paid for the articles he bought with Riya's help. Afterwards, he went in a clothing shop.
He flitted his eyes around the shop but he didn't like anything, something different, something unique, something... but something that he was not able to find.
He twitched his lips and glanced around, when his eyes stopped on a very beautiful white gown, sleeveless and beaded straps.
"Perfect," his lips curved in a smile.
Without a hesitation he bought it, really eager to see how it looked on her. He felt his heart fluttering even on the imagination of that. "You are going to be my death Riya Gupta."
DAY 25- WEDNESDAY
"Mr Rawte and Miss Gupta, you were supposed to prepare an assignment during your detentions," Mr David said sternly. He was not that way with students, he was really jovial but he didn't want the students to have the idea they could go scout free after doing a wrong task.
"But sir.." Riya started.
"Listen to me first. If you haven't prepared the assignment, your main assignment's marks would be divided in two." He said adjusting his trimmed eye glasses.
Riya gasped, not believing the man she had had a secret crush on would threat to destroy her dreams. Arjun and Riya looked at each other with their jaws dropped and worry gnawed Arjun. They thought after the heroic act
"You both are my favorite students but you have done wrong. Other students should know that breaching a rule would not be good for them." David sounded serious. "I am telling you this today rather than shocking you with this news on Monday, Arjun's last day here, because I want you both to work it. We just want ten pictures taken by Riya and edited by you. You have three days. All the best." He patted their shoulders.
Arjun and Riya left the cabin silently and went to the detention room. As they walked, Riya was left in her trail of thoughts. Monday night he would board his flight, he would be gone. It pricked her heart. One week.
"So, are we really going to get our marks affected because of this punishing assignment?" Arjun groaned, sinking in the chair.
"No worries Arjun," Riya winked at him and started her laptop.
"How?" Arjun got on his feet and joined the chair next to her.
"See," she pointed to her laptop's screen.
Arjun looked at the screen and at pictures it shew. "WOW," he was dumbstruck.
The folder was loaded with his pictures that she took in various detentions. She was damn good at her job and a lot more better than him. He was highly impresses, specially because it concerned his pictures by her. He had never known he was this handsome.
Of course, he boasted over his looks but it was all superficial, because people praised him that he was good looking but this was different, it shew how she envisioned him and she did have a very good impression about him. it warmed his heart. He felt good, he felt elated.
He stared at the art. He was working really focused on his laptop, in one he was giving a lopsidedsmile, in another one he was thoughtful and so went on.
"I never knew I am this handsome," he complimented himself.
"Is that your way to praise my work?" She chided him.
"Yes," he chucked freely.
"Idiot! Now it is up to you to edit them," she passed him the laptop and he got on work in Photoshop.
"You have art in your hand," Riya said as she saw his speed of work.
"I can say the same about you. Everyone can take pictures but few can represent the true beauty," he complimented her directly this time.
"Thank you," she blushed.
"By the way, now that I think, you wanted to complete this project soon, then why did it take this long?" he asked her, the question that came in his mind. He remembered back then, this question had troubled him a lot.
"Because, I kind of liked our detentions," she laughed and he was left admiring, feeling ecstatic.
DAY 26- THURSDAY
They walked side by side to her bus, he was thoughtful, something disturbing her. "What is disturbing you Arjun?" She asked him.
"I," he shrugged and sighed. "At times, I do reflect back on the old me and I feel a deep remorse," he was disappointed on himself.
She stopped and turned him toward her, "Arjun, you have done wrong but you have realized that it was wrong. You do, right?"
"Yes, I was wrong," he admitted, his head lowered as if a guilty kid.
"You will stay on the right track now," she patted his cheek, "I am sure of that. Sometimes, we are on the wrong way but a an event, a fact opens our eyes, we discover ourself," her voice so soft, "you have discovered your true self. It is good to make mistakes but as long no one else is concerned. You have learnt it. Yet always keep this guilt inside your heart as that will prevent you to repeat the mistake again."
"I just hope I will be able to remain as the real me and not get influenced," he said, afraid to return back in his old friend's companionship.
"Arjun, sometimes, you think that staying with bad people won't effect you but the truth is, most of the time you become a part of it. Negativity pulls you more toward it than goodness. When you will go back, they will try to pull you back in the dirt, try to do everything to bring back the normal Arjun according to them. It will be a test for you to stay away from them or be a limited to them. I trust you. I do trust you a lot. And whenever you feel tempted, think about me, your friend, Riya Gupta, who trusts you, trusts you a lot. Will you?" She asked with confidence in her eyes.
She could not believe he was the same Arjun she had abhorred because of his flirting and his lying to Annabelle, she had hated him with every fiber of her heart. The one she had tried to ignore her best but found him nearby. He was the same man, she had poured juice on and got stuck in detention with him. Yet he was the same Arjun, who made her smile, who saved her and who had changed immensely. More than words, she believed the change in his eyes, which shew honesty.
"I will," he replied genuinely.
She smiled and they resumed their walk to the bus stop. Riya happy that she could assure ArrArjun and Arjun relieved. He would keep the guilt in his heart never to repeat the mistake again and he would stay strong on his promise. No he was not afraid to break the promise but he was afraid to get influenced by his friends. He was human after all.
DAY 27- FRIDAY
"So, shall we present our assignment today?" Riya asked him, as Arjun was giving last touches to the detention assignment.
"Yes, I will be done in ten minutes," He replied, engrossed in the editing.
She sat there admiring him, when busy in work, he looked the most enchanting man. Or was it when he was just focusing, he did look appealing too while playing with Shree. He looked good in everything he did actually and that was disturbing her.
Why was he disturbing her to this extent? That she didn't even feel irritated about it? Just confused over her feelings. Feeling attraction for a handsome man was casual but the acidity she got around him was not normal at all.
"I am done come," he smiled.
They both went to David's cabin. "Come in, Oh Good morning Mr Rawte and Miss Gupta, I hope I have a good news,"
"Yes sir," Riya simpered and shew the laptop screen to him.
David scrunched his nose and concentrated on the pictures, not expecting such an amazing work in two days. "Did you do it in two days?" He was baffled.
"No sir, Riya was taking my pictures for some time now," Arjun said genuinely.
"I am so damn proud of you. Together you form a blazing pair," He commented the duo, "I will show it to the principal and you will get extra credits for your main assignment," he informed them.
Arjun and Riya were surprised, they had not anticipated this. They had just wished their main subject not to be impacted but extra-credit was cherry on the top.
"Really sir?" Riya said mirthfully.
"Yes Riya," he said happily. "Now off to concentrate on your monday's finale presentations of your projects," he smiled at them.
As they came out of the cabin, Riya took Arjun in a hug, she was really excited, so damn excited. "All our dreams will be fulfilled," she was full of hope.
"Yes, they will," He smiled, with joy, so damn happy to get extra-credit as well as Riya in his arms. He wanted to cherish this moments before they parted their ways.
DAY 28- SATURAY
Shree wanted to go for bowling and had invited Arjun. He was well aware that in about three days he was going to India so he wanted to enjoy some time with Arjun. Although, he was in contact with him over WhatsApp but this memories would be etched forever.
The trio and Arjun along his friend Raj joined them in the bowling alley. Arjun greeted his two cutiepies and smiled at Riya.
"Come, we have to register our names," Shree said, as he had come there a few times for his friends' birthdays.
"You guys carry on," Riya smiled and was about to sit on a couch.
"Riya," Arjun called her out.
She halted and veered toward him, "yeah?"
"You won't play?" He asked with a frown.
"I have never played it since I was not interested," she shrugged.
"Then let's give it a try," he pulled her and her siblings hooted for her.
Getting equipped, they started playing and as Riya targeted and let lose the ball but it ended as a gutter. She looked at Arjun with her fallen face. "I told you,"
"Shh, let me guide you," he shushed her, not liking her sad face. "Hold the ball, look in the middle of lane, yes... Bend yourself and you knees a little... no not like this, a little less. Swing the ball and with power let it go, roll on the lane." He instructed her standing at a safe distance behind her.
She followed all her said and it hit a few bottles, shocking her. She did it. She looked at Arjun and squealed,"I did it," she hugged him happily and then rushed to Aliya and Shree, hugging them, who had a knowing smile on their face and a wish in their heart.
Yet the two teenagers were worried, Arjun was to go back soon and they didn't know what would happen then to them. They were so cute and adorable, they would hate to see them parted.
Arjun looked at her, with a dazzling smile. He wondered if she knew what her physical innocent touch did to him? He felt really breathless and the need to have her in his life intensified.
He was going to cherish these moments.
DAY 29- SUNDAY
"Hello everyone" Arjun entered with gifts in his hands.
"Hello bhai," Shree hugged him. As usual, Arjun was invited there for dinner and he had been always elated at the invitation.
"What is this bhai?" Aliya asked him.
"Gifts for you all, farewell gifts," he said and Riya looked at him with a frown. Gifts? Last time he bought gifts, he had taken his help. He had learnt a lot, she mused.
"Wow," Shree squealed and waited Arjun to give him his gift.
"This is for you champ," Arjun gave him his gift, "this one for you Aliya," then he walked too Padma, "this is for you Aunty and uncle this for you." he distributed their gifts.
"And mine?" Riya frowned, not pleased that he didn't give her the gift.
"This one is for you," He gave her the gift he was saving for her. Little nervous though, he had never gifted any woman a gift till date.
"Thank you Arjun," she was delighted. She was in the process of opening her gift when Shree gasped in happiness.
"New Game of Grand theft auto, I was waiting to buy it, thank you so much." Shree hugged him.
Riya's brow raised a bit. It all sounded to familiar.
"Painting set for me, thank you bhai," Aliya hugged him tightly as well.
Her brow raised a little more. Too familiar.
"Wow a leather wallet for me," Shashank smiled, he was really happy. Arjun had bought the two man the same gifts.
"I am grateful of you to bring me this sewing kit," Padma smiled.
Her brow raised more than usual, it was familiar because she had suggested him all that. So he was buying the gifts for them... she was the beautiful and awesome friend. the realization bowled her.
She looked at Arjun and he winked at her. She smiled. As she opened her gift, she was stunned, their laid one of the most beautiful white gown.
"This is so beautiful," before her Aliya uttered those words, with complete awed look.
"Yes Riya, how about you wear it?" Padma suggested. She would be a blind not to see that the two had a spark between them and the look on Arjun's face. The anticipation for her to see the dress.
Riya nodded and went to her room. She had been mesmerized seeing the gorgeous gown. She wanted to thank him but when everyone suggested her to wear it, she thought a better way to thank him, to wear his gift.
Cladding the dress on her, she appreciated herself in the mirror and was pleasantly surprised that the dress fitted her perfectly.
Brushing her hairs, she went down and all gasped with praises that followed. She looked at Arjun, "This is beautiful Arjun,"
"I thought it was but it got a new dimension as you are wearing it," he was enchanted, when he had seen the dress on the mannequin, he had not anticipated that it could look more beautiful on her. She enhanced the dress.
Everyone sat down for dinner and Arjun's eyes were stuck on her, while Riya's head was lowered with reddened face.
But a thought was deranging both of them. He was going back the next day.
To be continued...
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