Joined: 27 April 2014
Hey, all! Well, my apologies for the unwanted delay, but I'm glad this chapter got done finally, otherwise I'd have ended up in a mental asylum somewhere in the country. xD
Ishani wiped her tears, hot sun burning vehemently on her face, as each word of her conversation with Ranveer rang in her ears with fierce lucidity again and again whispering the echoes of a pain that would not go away. "Go back! Go back to your mother..." His quietest of the words had managed to wound her heart the deepest still throbbed maliciously in her ears.
Go back? How could one abandon the only strand of the hope of their remaining life that kept them even alive and walk away just like that? How could he even think she would ever leave him for whatever reasons he had? She already regretted her one decision of years ago, but she could not let the same thing happen again now. Not at all!
Why did his eyes suddenly turn so cold that no warmth could melt the pain she had realized in them in that moment? Their argument had come to an end with him falling asleep- or at least closing his eyes to pretend so, so that she would not say anything more. But all she had done was yell at him, telling him she was not going anywhere else anymore. But he had not opened his eyes or shown any sign of having heard her.
Oh, and if he really wanted her away, why did he not look into her eyes and then say all that? He was the worst liar one could have the fortune to meet.
He was an idiot! Mood swings! But were they? She needed to know what her heart always feared and why. What was it she had been missing all along? She needed all her answers and confusions to get cleared or they would ruin the remaining sanity of her mind any moment now. She needed to know why Ranveer maintained this distance between them despite being unable to do so all the time, and why still a part of him remained away from her... hidden from her so that not even she could reach out for him. She needed her peace of mind back. She needed her Ranveer back. She needed her reason to be alive back. Everything had been a chaos and her heart at the worst unease, and the changed behavior of Ranveer's only made it all worse.
Her car now instead of going to her mother's place, turned to the passage the building of London Bridge Hospital overlooked from the distance and she jerked her car right towards the hospital hurriedly. She had visited it all the time with Ranveer and was very much familiar with all the issues about it... except one, of course!
"Mr. Gregson," she breathed as her feet halted at the reception and the woman at the duty stared at her apparently visible scruffy form. "I want to meet Dr. Gregson!"
She smiled, a professional smile. "Please sit. He's busy in an urgent meeting right now. As soon as he turns up, I will inform you."
Ishani sat down on one of the chairs in the hall, her eyes constantly wandering to and fro lest Dr. Gregson escaped her sight long before she could have her time, and it was not until 45 minutes later did she notice him walking out of the passage which led to his cabin.
"Doctor Gregson!" she called out from behind before the receptionist could even gesture her about his arrival, and the old man turned back.
"Yes?" He looked at her curiously as she advanced further.
"Doctor, I want to talk to you..." she said. "It's urgent!"
"What is it?"
"I'm afraid, Miss, I'm quite busy right now, and anyway, we cannot reveal our patients' details to the outsiders."
"I'm not an outsider," Ishani answered. "Please, I need your help!"
"But it's against the rules of the hospital and we cannot break them."
"Aren't rules' made to make things easier for the patients? You are making it difficult for us," Ishani said, trying to pretend confident that she probably did not feel. Instead, the place of nervousness was taken by curiosity and a desire to know the answers of her questions.
"We have been trusted not to reveal anything to anyone," the doctor said calmly. "No outsider, I'm afraid."
Ishani looked at him uneasily for a few seconds and then spoke. "I'm his fiance and you must let me know, doctor. We'll be marrying in the next 2 weeks," she said confidently.
Mr. Gregson was taken aback by this revelation as he eyed her, confused for a while and then spoke. "I think we can discuss about his condition in my cabin," he said, and Ishani followed him there. "So, what is it you want to know?"
"I'm sure you do know all of it, Doctor," Ishani said, now tone of sadness taking over her inquisitiveness. "His behavior. His mood swings... his immaturity at times... all of which is not him at all! Are these the side effects of the surgery or is it something more that I don't know?"
"That happens, Miss Parekh, and many patients serve worse than him and barely survive the depression and mental stress! It's more than normal for the patients at this stage post their surgery."
"No," Ishani answered, remembering his changed behavior since last night. "With him... it's different. I don't know why, but he seems mortally afraid of something. It's something as if he is hiding something from all of us. From his parent, from me... from his friends. You are the doctor and know better, sir. Please tell me what it is! Why do you always hesitate when I talk about him? I mean, it's clear from your face you want to end this conversation right away. Doesn't it indicate you do know what we don't?" Ishani's voice grew more and desperate as she saw Mr. Gregson trying not to make an eye contact with her and his hands clasped with each other on the table.
As a sign of his helplessness, he shook his head and stared at Ishani for a while, without uttering a word for some time. Then he spoke. "He is afraid," Mr. Gregson answered calmly. "The diagnosis of the patients is always not fruitful for many of them. Not even the surgery completely. However, in case of Ranveer, we got to know of it in its nearly early stages, but the delay in his treatment had been against him that should have been avoided completely. He is afraid, and I'm sorry to say, rightly so. The patients of the pineal tumor are extremely rare, and thus their stats are not easily found. From our own hospital, we have had 4 patients in last 10 years; 2 of which lived for about 5-7 years, one for 2 and another died within 6 months since he had refused to carry on with the treatment due to high expanses."
Ishani felt her fists tightening on the edge of the table as she struggled to keep herself composed now and breathed twice deeply to keep her mind clear of any confusion. But thoughts still swarmed in her head.
Was she being so ignorant that she never bothered with this little obvious aspect? Of course cancer patients rarely lived long after they were diagnosed... not all, but most. But her Ranveer was different. He wasn't like those that would give up on life just like that! She shook her head to keep these thoughts away and sighed.
"Are these the obvious results?" Ishani asked, her voice heavy.
"Actually, the results are not enough to determine whether it's obvious or not. But so far, it's been noticed the consequences vary from patients to patients. And RV is my friend. I will do anything to keep him safe, Ishani. Trust me, try to understand his psychology, he is going through a lot of emotional and mental turmoil that must not be avoided right now."
"Is he really not supposed to live long? Is he really supposed to die?" Ishani asked, her words completely choking her voice in her throat. What was wrong with her now? Such stupid questions. He was not going to die!
The doctor shook his head, and smiled. "This was what he was afraid about. He had requested me never to let any information out about him otherwise his family might panic. But here you are... digging the information about his condition and slaughtering all the promises I'd made, Miss!"
"Is he still likely to get better?"
"Better than he thinks himself to be, yes."
"Not long, I fear. Cancer patients do not live long, Miss Parekh, though the treatment does prolong their lifetime at times considerably. And the results of pineoblastoma always vary as per the patients. I would not like to make any predictions about him right now."
Ishani felt something crack within her as her every attempt to keep herself composed now failed dauntlessly and her hands clutched the side of the table resolutely, keeping her from trembling in fear. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. There was no time to fall weak now.
"For how long do we have to continue the treatment?"
"Next 6 months are the most important ones, Ms. Parekh. Take care of that," Mr. Gregson answered as he stood up. "For your Ranveer, not all is lost, but who knows... miracles do happen." He smiled as Ishani followed him as well, and shook hands with him as she left the hospital building.
So, this was what he had been hiding. His insecurities. His fear of losing her again! His wishes never to see her suffer. And she never saw it coming... or maybe she did. All the time. But she was so indulged in making sure since last few weeks that he took proper care of himself so that things got better soon enough that these aspects had barely entered her thoughts. She wanted him to get better, so that that they could have a better life from now on. But what if there was no life? Was she supposed to live without him, alone, after all this time?
Ishani shook her head, as she reached her car and sat on the driver's seat. Starting the engine, she headed towards a destination she had no idea about. The aimless wandering, her mind somewhere formed the word as uncontrollable tears gushed out of her eyes, her heart aching brutally in her chest and her eyes only forming Ranveer's image in her mind. As the car halted at the dense traffic, she leaned back on her seat, still trying to think straight. No, she couldn't go weak now. But why wouldn't the tears stop? She hurriedly wiped them away as more tears followed the previous ones. It all was to be dream. A nightmare. She was to wake up tomorrow. Nothing has happened. Ranveer is all fine. He will be fine.
But, no. The painful throbbing of her heart knew it all was real. Too real to be misunderstood to be anything anymore.
Was there no way she could help him? Save him? Could he really not fight the dangers despite him wanting to? She felt herself choking as she gulped to grasp some air. The sounds of the vehicles intensifying until her brain could form no more images either of pain or of relief and she blocked her ears to any sound that penetrated her thoughts until all fell calm.
She wiped more tears from her cheeks as a gush of hatred passed over her. She hated herself again and again for falling weak. She was not supposed to do that! What would he be going through all these months with the knowledge of his life being in such a deceitfully terrifying situation? She needed to be there for him this time. And how could she forget miracles do happen?
When busy in her thoughts, she noticed the vehicles around her started crawling steadily as she now made her way to the church... a final destination her heart could follow.
The church indeed was a solace nothing else could provide in that hour as she sat silently there on a bench, wondering what life really had in store for her and Ranveer. There was a time she was given a choice of either to acknowledge his love or reject it; and unknowingly, she had chosen the ruthlessness of the latter. A choice was in front of her once again; to accept the love of a dying man and give him the life he had always deserved but remained deprived of or leave him again for whatever the reasons she could cite. She closed her eyes as her red face prickled with the sensation of the burning tears, but the flow could not be stopped anymore.
Months ago, when she was not even aware of, this was the place she had found her love in, her friendship in. And this was the place from where, she knew, she would never return empty handed. Right now, she needed courage to face Ranveer, his family. His mother, who had entrusted her to keep her son safe and alive, and she had to succeed in this.
Ishani sighed, and stood up. How long she spent there she could not guess. The people visited there, prayers followed and Ishani, like an invisible spectator sat in the corner, concealed from all the eyes. And by the time she emerged from the building of the church, it was already dark, the dark after the nightfall, and she gasped. There was no moon, only thick grey clouds. The rain drops fell softly upon the uncovered stony floor of the passageway of the church of the exit and she did not bother hide herself away. The sky after all wept the aching tears she would not be able to shed.
She drove the car away, not willing to return home"or Ranveer's home at once and remembered her promise to her mother who might or might not be waiting for her now, but she hoped she could see her mother and she had not yet left already. She had been careless the entire day, wandering aimlessly to find the answers of her disquieting and unraveling questions, but it all had ended up being more and more tangling in her mind. Perhaps her mother had some answers?
Ishani headed towards her home, and taking the shortcuts that she was more than aware of now, reached the familiar place that glowed with a silver light from the inside. Thankfully, her mother hadn't yet left.
Getting inside her home, she turned the doorknob gracefully down and the door opened with a soft creek. As she walked in, her eyes fell upon her mother who for 5 minutes remained oblivious to her presence and it was when Ishani cleared her throat did she look back from her work and smiled.
"Ishani," she said and advanced towards her hurriedly. Ishani smiled at her wearily and embraced her mother. "I thought you were busy, so didn't call you up. And look, you are completely drenched! Go, and change your clothes."
Ishani tried to keep her tears on edge, not letting her mother know of what she had found out. How her mother would react, she wondered, if Ishani told her this.
"Yes," Ishani sniffed. "I was busy and I'm sorry, Maa, that I couldn't come over to you sooner." At her mother's insistence, she rushed to her room and changed in her simple purple dress and came back to her mother who had now prepared coffee for her, and smiled.
"Are you alright?" Falguni recognized her daughter's feigned smiles.
"Maa," Ishani asked nervously as Falguni made Ishani sit on the couch, and handed her over the coffee. "Maa, are you alright if Ranveer and I get married?" The coffee after the tiring day felt comforting.
Falguni stared at her and frowned. "What kind of question is that, Ishani? You know it already!"
"Yes, I do," Ishani spoke hesitantly. "But you know about Ranveer's condition, right? I... I hope you won't..."
Falguni's eyes bore into her daughter's as she withdrew her own gaze away, and sighed. "You don't trust me enough, Ishani, do you? Would you not marry him if I say no?"
"Of course I will!" Ishani answered intensely, and then her tone softened. "And I didn't mean it like that, Maa. Ranveer... according to his ideals and thoughts, we will not marry without our families' consents."
Falguni smiled and caressed Ishani's cheek lovingly. "He already has my and his Mota Babuji's consent, Ishani. I wonder what his parents are going to say! They won't say no either, I'm sure."
"You have talked him over this matter as well?" Ishani asked, ignoring rest of the statement for a while.
Falguni nodded. "When we met the last time 2 days ago, I asked him what future had he planned, but he denied, saying he needed to send you away from him for the obvious reasons of his health. But we both knew what your decision would be and that troubled him deeply."
Ishani gulped and without saying anything else, hugged her mother once again, tears freely escaping her eyes. "I love you, Maa," she managed to say through her tears while her mother caressed her back.
"Don't cry," Falguni answered. "I made this mistake once, but won't repeat it again and again. Ranveer and you are made for each other and that's clear now. We're nobody to say anything else."
Ishani separated herself and Falguni wiped her tears. "Maa, I can't lose Ranveer... I'll die if something happened to him..." Ishani said, and looked at her mother as if she would provide her the comfort that needed her to get going. And in answer, Falguni only took Ishani in her arms again and kissed her head.
"Life is too uncertain, Ishani. And my heart says things will be better... Now, go to Ranveer, and tell him of your decision."
Ishani closed her eyes and took a deep breath as if to muster courage to do what lay ahead without failing. The fight wasn't just with the disease anymore, but Ranveer himself, too. She had to make him believe what was right, and restore his faith in himself, his life and their love. As she stood up, her feet trembled and thankfully the transient moment of this weakness went unnoticed by her mother who remained absent from the place to keep the coffee mugs in the kitchen. She was already enduring everything for her, and Ishani couldn't burden her with anything more.
"Maa. Take care of yourself, please."
"Ishani, I'm alright. And tomorrow I'm leaving. I will see you before that..."
Ishani smiled and hugged her mother once again before stepping out of her house, her heart now beating wildly as the time to confront Ranveer drew nearer.
The rain had stopped, and the clouds slowly parted away, revealing the pitch-black sky studded with brilliantly burning stars and the white sickle moon, still enjoying the game of hide and seek across the grey sheets of the clouds. Memories of her conversation with her mother flashed before her eyes, somehow providing her a much needed courage and strength as her car finally halted in front of the gates of the RV Mansion. Her heart raced wildly, her breath difficult with each step she took and her senses too sharp for the tiniest of the sound to get noticed.
Ishani walked timidly into the house and slowly advanced towards the staircase that led to Ranveer's room. The silence in the house albeit familiar was unusual. Before sneaking into Ranveer's room, Ishani took a deep breath once again, and plunged herself in only to find the room completely empty.
"Ranveer!" she called out.
"Ranveer, are you there?" she called out again, but no response. Ishani looked about the room, but no sign of him. Not even a moth seemed to flutter its wings in the deadly silence as Ishani found her heart growing heavier and heavier with everything that followed this adventure. She ran here and there in the house, looking for Ranveer in all the places he was likely to be found but no sign of his was seen, and to her utmost surprise, his parents' room was empty as well and not a single living being flapped around. Her heart sank.
Where had everyone gone to? A panic rose in her heart and sudden thoughts clouded by the worst of the possibilities filled her thoughts. She again tried his phone number, but it rang in his own room, and his parents wouldn't receive the call.
At last she sat down by the pillar in front of his room, breathing heavily and trying to keep her madly drowning self in the pits of painful abyss sane. Where had everyone gone to?
"Ishani, when did you return?" A voice startled her out of her thoughts and she looked up.
"Emily?" She stood up and rushed to the woman who looked at her sympathetically, and smiled.
"What have you made of yourself, girl?" she asked, and rushed to fetch a glass of water, and handed it over to Ishani. "What happened?"
"Where is everyone, Emily? Kaka... Kaki and Ranveer?" she said, stressing on the name of Ranveer.
"Calm down," Emily answered, sighing. "Mrs. And Mr. Vaghela have been out for a get together with some of their friends. They didn't want to but at Ranveer's insistence they agreed. They will be returning any time now. And Ranveer was resting in his room. Is he not there?"
Ishani shook her head. "I've looked for him everywhere," she said through her choking voice. "I can't find him anywhere."
"Did you see him in the garden?"
Ishani blinked. That was the only place she hadn't visited. "No, but I will check him out just now!" Ishani rushed quickly to the garden, her breaths now more erratic than before and her skin cold as death. For a moment it frightened her but as she felt her palm running through her cheeks to wipe the tears she realized the life which still remained within her.
And then, her feet halted right there as her eyes fell upon him. For a moment she forgot to breathe, to think or to remember being sad. The garden scented with the fragrance of the fresh roses and petrichore spread its magic over the place, it was indeed heaven. But she was too busy to look anywhere else as her eyes remained fixed Ranveer's passive form that leaned across the pole of the swaying swing, his own eyes staring up at the moon. A white star was what she could think of him like to be; an analogy that surprised her as well. A star burning fiercely in the coldness of dark sky, its fire shifting within it, making it absolutely unattainable, unreachable and unachievable and none daring to go nearer lest they get burned. His tired face glowed in the soft vivacity of the moonlight as she felt her feet frozen in their place. His black attire making him look incredibly attractive and charming.
In all this, she had no idea when her own feet led her to him, as if controlled by a spell she had no power over and she stood by his side. He shifted in his place but did not look at her while her own eyes never left him. Somehow, the trance shattered and Ishani blushed, finding out where she stood right now, her eyes staring at him confidently, with a strange ferocity she had never felt before. Why she felt so confident right now and how, she did not know. Perhaps it was the matter of their love and life and she had to risk it all, that's why?
Ishani closed her eyes and took a deep breath, her eyes burning precariously. For the first time in her life she was so sure about something and Ranveer had to give up on his inhibitions now. She couldn't go on with it or without what she wanted. Him.
"You must be so glad now," she heard her voice as if someone had else had spoken. He turned back, his gaze uneasy.
"Ishani..." his words faltered as her unblinking eyes scorched within him and he gulped.
Ishani smiled. "You do want me to stay away from you, right? What if I say I have decided to finally walk away?" Ishani waited for him to react any way but his eyes remained resolutely fixed on her.
"What do you mean?" he asked after sometime.
"You know it better," she sighed, pretense now suddenly wearing off. She couldn't go weak!
"I don't understand!" he answered and Ishani's face grew more grim, devoid of any emotion.
"Why did you want me to go away all this time? I think I should have listened to you already... I met Mr. Gregson and I know everything now," she whispered slowly. "No one hides things from me the way you do, and I'm such a fool that thinks you feel the same way about trust between us, Ranveer. But you don't."
His eyes gazed into hers, just like all the times when he managed to stumble upon her deepest of the feelings, laid there for him to rummage the way he wanted to and manipulate her for her sake. She couldn't let that happen again. Enough was enough now!
"What?" she smiled and a tear like crystal appeared in the corner of her eye. He still looked at her as if he had no idea what spell had taken over her suddenly and why she suddenly became who he did not know. But she was very well aware that every act of hers effectively enervated the strength out of him, still she wanted to know how far could he go on with his stubbornness.
He gulped. "Ishani, are you alright?"
"I'm perfect!" she snapped and smiled. "If you will permit me, can I leave in 3 days? I'm tired already."
Somewhere deep within, his eyes welled up and he swallowed down the pain, but said nothing else.
"What happened, Ranveer?" she asked, now slightly jovially that she did not at all feel. "Weren't you the one that wanted me to go away and be done with you?"
"I... Ishani..." he stuttered but fell silent again and looked away.
"Were they shallow words only? You know, I shouldn't even have stayed with you," her tone was bitter. Bitter for herself. With each word she spoke, it sliced her own heart along with his. She needed to stop this. Right now. But she continued nonetheless. "You're right. I deserve better!"
His shocked eyes followed her careless gaze to another side as she felt him shudder slightly. He parted his lips to say something but fell silent as Ishani continued as if now unaware of his presence.
"I was a fool even to think something more about us, wasn't I? You would never let that happen. And why should I be there with you anyway, right? Who knows what happens to you in a few years. Ishani Parekh deserves better, doesn't she? She deserves all the happiness because her best friend who loves her dearly wants so. She deserves it and rightly so!" How the volume of her tone increased, she did not know, but she did not care. Suddenly she moved closer to him. "Look at me, Ranveer. Look at me!"
He did. His gaze too weak now, though no tear evident there.
"Now, whatever you want me to do, say it aloud. Look into my eyes and say it to me! Say you want me away from you. Say you want me to leave you forever. Say you would be happy once I'm gone," she spoke quickly in a single breath, and added at last, "Oh, well, what will you do once I'm gone?" A smirk passed through her face but she couldn't keep the tears away anymore that exploded suddenly like the mists of the lumbering snow on a cold day.
Ranveer fumbled few imperceptible words and Ishani laughed. A quiet, sad laugh.
"Say it to me, Ranveer, and I'll simply walk away," she repeated urgently while Ranveer looked away, now resigned to his heart's agonies. He couldn't take it anymore.
Ishani came closer to him, and now as he looked at her, her face was full of tears but she did not care. She took his hand in hers and wrapped it around her waist, uncaring how he would react or interpret her actions and then slowly rested her head on his shoulder, as her own heart broken as his was.
"When we both know we can't live without each other, why do you have to try so hard, Ranveer?" she sobbed, her head buried in his chest now.
He still kept silent. Numb.
"You can't even take the thought of me leaving you forever, how would you live if I go away for real?" she insisted, and looked up in a deeply penetrating gaze. "How would you forget everything we have been through? Everything we have shared since our childhood. From our fights to our smiles. From sandwiches to all our troubles. From our hugs to our kisses. How?" She leaned on him again and continued. "Wouldn't you feel empty when your heart itself refuses to beat at this thought? You can do anything for my happiness, but don't forget it's about us now. Our life. Not yours or mine anymore."
Ranveer still remained silent and Ishani separated herself from his embrace, and looked into his eyes. Only pain of what she had done just now.
He slowly brought his hands to her cheeks and wiped her tears. "I only want to see you happy. That's it." His voice was broken, and Ishani winced at the resignation in his tone. Not knowing how, but her feet now led her impossibly closer to him, the remaining space between them being filled with each other only as she nestled herself close to him, the warmth of his body providing a comfort to her own now as she felt the pain slowly melting away.
"How do you think that'll happen somewhere away from you? I can't live without you, Ranveer. I can't!" she whispered, clutching on his shirt tightly.
"Why?" The obvious question; but Ishani did not look at him this time, instead she pressed closer and closer to him, her arms circling about him tightly as if moving away would mean the life being snatched away from her.
"Because I love you, stupid!" she said, and laughed through her tears at the way he had asked his question. "I love you, Ranveer. I love you!"
For a moment there was only silence as if everything around them had fallen still in their place to listen to her words; and somewhere she felt he had stopped breathing in that moment as well, as she held him incredibly closer to herself. But his beating heart that felt so real against her own chest now that raced wildly as if beating so fiercely against his desires but soon enough she felt his own arms circle around her waist and she smiled, tears still leaving her eyes.
"Do you know what you are getting yourself into?" he asked in a blank voice.
"You do know what this all means, right?"
"You might never get out of this mess again perhaps, you know that?"
"I do!" Ishani said, and separated herself from him. "Why are you asking the same question again and again differently, Ranveer?"
"Because we might not be together in a while and you will have to look after everything, you know that?"
She placed her palm on his lips. "Don't say that!"
"We can't run away from the truth, Ishani. And that's why we need to be prepared for the inevitable from now on... I don't want you to become my wi..."
"Stop it, Ranveer!" Ishani snapped, and held him by his collar. "I'm not going to let happen anything to you! I'll never let anything happen to you, and you must admit that! If you believe that I brought you back from death this time, I'm going to do that again and again, and no one will ever come between us! We have seen enough people already, Ranveer. We can't go on suffering like this until our last breaths. And no matter whatever happens, we are going to be together. To live together. Marry, see our children grow, and in a future far, far away, see our grandchildren grow as well." And suddenly her voice softened and a dreamy look crossed her face. "Can you imagine how would they look? Our children and grandchildren, I mean? They would be so grateful to have you by their side, Ranveer..." she said, her voice heavy, but faltered at the wistful look in his eyes. A wish perhaps they both knew might never come true. But who was immortal, anyway? Why did the truth hurt so much when they both knew what was coming?
Ranveer took her in his arms. "I love you, too, Ishani. I love you, too. But life is not just as we had wanted it to be. It's still playing its games. Perhaps it loves doing this a lot?"
Ishani nestled closer to him, not saying anything, and suddenly her anguished sobs reached his ears. "I'll never let anything happen to you, Ranveer, and I mean it!" she said, emphasizing on each and every word as if challenging the God to defy her. And if He did, she would never let Him win. Never.
Ranveer wiped her tears and suddenly he felt her close her eyes and her feet buckling over the ground, but before she could hit the floor he caught her and made her stand on her feet.
"Are you alright, Ishani?"
But her eyes had already been closed and she leaned towards him. Ranveer, with great difficulty, took her in his arms and brought her back to his room. His parents had not yet returned back. The clock nearby struck 10.45 as he, hobbling slightly himself, walked towards her room, and made her lay on the bed and pulled the blanket up to her. Tucking her hair back behind, he turned back, but as he separated himself from her, a mild force pulled him back. He looked at her to see his hand gently clasped in hers that he had forgotten to retract and now it was tightly secured in her firm grip. Smiling pensively, he sat back by her side as the sound of the rain again reached his ears, now splashing down in the newly formed puddles below. Why did it rain so much these days?
He remained seated there for how long he could not tell. In a while his parents returned as he could sense their soft footsteps marching up to their rooms; but he kept quiet, trying to keep himself from looking at Ishani's face. For whenever he looked at her, he wanted to kiss her. But it wasn't right. She loved him... she said that, too. Why was it wrong? It wasn't.
But never had he thought his life to halt at this crossroad where everything was right there in front of his eyes and yet he was travelling far away from all of this, being pushed away from everything and everyone he had loved. He shuddered. Did life really have to be so strange? He remembered himself hoping and deep down praying that probably someday Ishani would fall in love with him... they would marry, raise their children together and see their grandchildren grow just like she had wanted and hoped.
But they both knew it was not going to happen. He would fade away into the mists of the past someday, leaving her behind as she would try to hold him back. He would not return then. Nothing frightened him more than her loneliness. Why didn't she understand? Ranveer shook his head, and sighed. Her face glowed like the brightest of the moon in the dim lights of the room. She hated darkness. She despised it and that's why she would keep the dim lights on of her room at night when she slept. But how could he save her from the darkness of her life?
The thought stung like the sharpest of the spears but for the first time in his whole life, he wished, he truly wished she had never loved him at all. She should have left him... or never come back to him. Maybe he himself should have kept himself away? Why were they met if this was to be their ultimate fate? He would be gone someday. Perhaps once left for a business meeting to another station, and he would never return? He could not think what she would do at the news when he wouldn't be there by her side anymore. Or maybe in the morning after sleeping after a tired day, he would never wake up? His insides screamed painfully at the thoughts how he would someday leave everything behind and just... fade into emptiness. Ishani would have to deal with everything, and it would only hurt her. They could not fight against the inevitable.
He traced his fingertips across her face, her skin was warm, and he could not bring himself to hurt her anymore by any means. How much was she to suffer?
The time continued to pass on and the rain still fell across the window, the windowpanes blocking the raindrops to penetrate into the room but creating a magical tinkle rhythmically falling over. She loved the rain, and he smiled at the thought. And suddenly he felt her stir, him freezing in his own place. But before he could make up his mind, he saw Ishani open her eyes languidly and staring at him, confused, until reality dawned upon her and she sat up with a mild jolt.
"What... what am I...? Ranveer, you brought me here?" She frowned. He nodded. "Oh, God!" She caught her head in her hand and sighed. "I never stop being trouble to you. And why didn't you wake me up?"
"It's alright, Ishani," he said, but Ishani shook her head again.
"It's not alright! You were supposed to be taking rest, weren't you? What are you doing here?"
And he slowly pulled his hand back out of her grip while Ishani gasped.
"I'm sorry," she apologized while Ranveer smiled.
"You look so pretty when asleep. I could stare at you my whole life like that," he said, wondering at the addition of his last words, and she smiled, blushing.
Ishani not knowing why, brought her hands close to his cheeks while his resilient gaze fell upon her lips. Something within him said it wasn't right... he mustn't go that way... death... pain... but, no... Heart said something else. Go ahead, it whispered. Their faces involuntarily moved towards each other, filling up the remaining distance between them, their breaths mingled with each others' as their lips met in the gentlest of the kisses, his lips softly caressing hers as she closed her eyes and melted in his arms. His hands cupping her cheeks. Suddenly, her right hand left the side of his face and clasped in his hair and she pulled him closer as their kiss continued, him kissing her deeply, but for how long, they could not tell. Time ceased to exist when she was so close to him, and so did the pain.
Tears suddenly escaped Ishani's eyes, and he, noticing them, retracted himself back and stared her face, both afraid and confused, wondering if he had done something he shouldn't have. But before his doubts could broaden their scope, Ishani took him in a tight embrace, whispering to him of her love and promises of never parting again. And when she said they would never part again, she meant it more than he could have dared to admit.
Ranveer smiled at her, trying to hide the sting of pain that ached to reveal itself to her, and gently kissed her forehead as he felt himself too melting in her arms and, once again pulling her closer to himself while she nestled herself close to him, leaning her head on his chest and then drifting into sleep once again. Never had they slept so peacefully before.
I don't know how many of you guys want to throw your shoes at me after this (it's something I have feared/felt from the day it having planned which is from nearly the beginning of the FF), but still... I'm not sure what to say, really. :/
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