Joined: 27 April 2014
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Joined: 09 June 2015
Joined: 27 April 2014
Hey, everyone! I'm back and hopefully this chapter is not how I'm fearing right now. And this is dedicated to each and every one of you, and my thanks to all of you for the patience. Thank you so much, guys. Hugs.
And, yeah. I'm on the hiding as well right now because of the chapter. See ya all soon! xD
He stared at his now familiar form in the mirror as he took off the white jacket and undid the top two buttons of his shirt. He looked different than he did since last many weeks, a look that had been lost for so long in his treatment and he hadn't dared to wonder if he would look like he did before. Even if Ishani never said a word, even if his mother and father let him know things would be alright, a part of him didn't know how. Sometimes, everything looked hopeless and the same questions hovered over his being in mockery of his love- How would you keep her happy? He wanted Ishani to stay away from that pain he was so acclimatized to, for it was no pleasantry to go through any of this. But Ishani was stubborn.
3 weeks had passed and they hadn't talked to each other since their last encounter, but their eyes only spoke of the longing that would culminate only into one thing. He remembered how Ishani had surrendered herself that night in front of him, but he walked away from there in a few moments, not knowing how to react to a wish of hers that they both knew wasn't possible to be fulfilled.
After 2 days, he had decided to join back the office as well, for not working made him more sick, and he could take care of himself after everything had happened as things had got better for him as well. He remembered seeing Ishani go and returning every day since that day, but they did not talk. They could not talk. At times, she had expressed her wish to return back home as well, but his parents had denied so, saying they felt hopeful when she was around, and she had given up on her stubbornness after that.
Everytime her eyes fell upon him, they would well up and his own would turn away from her as if either in embarrassment or pain, he did not know. However, the distance was driving him insanely crazy. Many times, when she would think he was asleep, Ishani would come to see him and say of all the things she felt, but he would not respond, lest some initiation would lead to something they were not ready for. But now, he needed to finish this game of hide and seek. It was not right to keep waiting for the things to happen, or the wait wouldn't end forever. It had to end and they needed to move on from their current state soon.
A soft knock at the door shattered his string of thoughts and he looked back. "Maa? Please come," he said turning back from the mirror swiftly.
Amba smiled and walked towards him. "I hope I haven't disturbed you," she said as she walked in.
"Maa," Ranveer said softly as he came further towards her, "why do you think so? You can never disturb me."
"I have been waiting for 15 minutes at the doorstep, having called your name thrice, and you just wouldn't look back. I, too, wanted to see how long you can take like this, and I must say this is remarkable that you can daydream about her for so long without noticing anything else in the world."
"I wasn't thinking about Ishani, Maa," he lied but Amba caught his left ear while Ranveer flinched. "Maa!"
"Lying to your mother?" She laughed while Ranveer smiled as well and Amba joined in, letting go of his ear. "What is it you were thinking so deeply?"
He sighed, a sign of his confusion. "How everything is getting better when the end is so near, Maa," he answered pensively.
"No end is near!" Amba answered immediately, her eyes staring into his. "Ishani is here, and she will never let anything happen to you. Just like always, I'm sure she will make everything alright!"
Ranveer smiled warmly and cupped his mother's cheeks. "You trust her so much?"
"I do trust her," Amba answered, and took his hand in hers. "All those years, if in that house anyone cared about you, it was her only. She came for you in the hospital, too, and never left. Why shouldn't I trust her, and your love for her? I know when she's with you, you are never going anywhere, and you will be perfectly fine."
"Do you think... I can actually be there with you all for long...?" Ranveer asked tensely.
"I know my Ranveer is a fighter," Amba said lovingly, caressing his cheeks; "and he will never give up without a fight, no matter what. And we will go anywhere in the world if these doctors can't do anything for you. Trust me. Anything for you, Ranveer. Anything."
Ranveer placed his hand on his mother's and smiled as a drop of tear escaped his eye. "For you and Baba, and Ishani, I will do anything, Maa. And if it means fighting the impossible, I will do that, too."
Amba smiled and kissed his forehead. "I know this," she said, and they both fell silent.
"Maa," Ranveer spoke after sometime and she looked at him. "Thank you."
"For forgiving Falguni Maa and her family."
At Ranveer's continuous insistences, Falguni had agreed to visit the RV Mansion reluctantly but was surprised to find out that Ranveer's family was rather calm at her visit and instead of any hatred there was only a coldness that felt somewhere better than wrath that hatred could bring on. Amba hadn't greeted or talked to Falguni at all but as the time passed, she had grown to give up on the dislike she held for the woman. Falguni had apologized for the past, and requested never to bring their family differences in between Ishani and Ranveer's relationship. That was the only strand that kept the two women on the same side, knowing the Parekh family might never agree to this. Not Baa, especially. Amba had agreed to everything, and Kailash had also been rather warm towards the guilty Falguni, but the coldness in both the sides wasn't hidden from anyone.
At the mention of Falguni, the kind features from Amba's face disappeared and an uneasiness took over. "I did this all for you. They never deserved..." she said sharply, trying to keep herself composed but failing.
"Maa," Ranveer answered and his mother looked at him. "The way you can't see anything happening to me, they couldn't see anything happening to their daughters also. Their reaction was natu--"
"But I'll never go to the extents they did that night..." her voice trembled and suddenly her grip on Ranveer's hand tightened. Tension. "I'll never forget anything, Ranveer. Never. How they had treated your Baba and you, just because we were their servants. Never our pleas reached their money-bound ears. How would they have reacted if we were not working for them? How would they have treated your love? Would any of them have felt sorry at all if you were not RV today? How can I go in front of them and not think of those days that took away everything from us? That made us suffer for no apparent reason? It can't be denied their betrayals only pushed us away from their hell, and I'm thankful to them for that, but I can't forget that night. I just can't." Her voice trembled more than before as she ran her palm across her son's face as if the memory of that night and wounds on his skin had once again resurfaced before her eyes rudely and she was helpless against the torment that perhaps had no end.
Amba closed her eyes tightly and opened them again. Now even his eyes had tears. Ranveer took his mother in his arms. Few wounds were indeed too deep to be healed, and he never denied this, but the fact couldn't be denied either that that was his Mota Babuji's family who had suffered enough after his death. The man who had done for him so much that Ranveer would never be able to pay back.
"You know, Maa, what it is that I love the most about you?" he said after sometime, and smiled lightly.
Amba wiped her tears and looked at him, confused.
"That you know how to forgive. Even if society was harsh and judgmental about you, you never let anyone dampen your spirit in the past. You became my strength when I might have given up on everything had it not been for you. And out of all the people I have known, I know it's you who will forgive others easily. Not because they deserved this, but because we needed to keep our hearts clean and devoid of the hatred that society inflicted upon us. Weren't you the one who had asked me to stay away from those who hurt us because you never wanted any revenge or anything that was against our morals? You had said, if we did to them what they have done to us, there wouldn't be any difference between us. Why can't we let it go now and move on?"
Amba smiled sadly. "But a mother can never forget what her child has been through because of someone, Ranveer. She can't. When I asked you to stay away from them, it was because I never wanted them to cross out paths, and had hoped so all those days. But--"
"You don't think like that for Ishani, Maa, do you?" he interrupted, slightly anxious.
Amba shook her head. "I never hated her, Ranveer, and even you know that very well. I should not have expected more from Ishani when she was going through the same things you did there. If Baa was mean to you, she was worse with Ishani and her mother at times. No woman likes her child to be called illegitimate and no one wants themselves to be called so either. You were both outsiders in that house," Amba explained and a smiled crossed across Ranveer's face.
"Ishani said the same thing once, too," he said dreamily as an old memory stirred within him and he smiled. "That we were outsiders there, and I think it never changed, did it?"
"Never," Amba answered honestly. "And that's why it seems you both were meant to be together. To be with each other, to heal each other and to love each other."
A slight blush crept over his face and Ranveer sighed. "Yes," was all he could say in a low whisper as Ishani's smiling face crossed before his eyes.
Amba caressed his face.
"Maa, anything special you had come here for?"
"Yes," she answered lovingly. "Well, I have only one last thing to tell you, Ranveer."
"What is it?"
"I want you and Ishani to marry soon," she answered. "Will you do this for me? And your engagement day has been finalized as well. It's 3 days from today." She looked at him hopefully.
Ranveer smiled pensively. "You don't trust me, Maa? Why can't we...?"
"I do trust you, Ranveer. I do. But it's high time you two get married."
Ranveer sighed and shook his head, trying to form the words he knew would have no impact on his stubborn mother.
"Do you know why I never forced you to marry until now?" Amba asked, her eyes sparkling with first remains of the tears.
Ranveer only stared at her.
"Because no matter how far you had been from Ishani and for how long, it was never going to change the fact you loved her only. She could perhaps never love you back, but you had to be prepared for a new life before you started on this journey. We knew you weren't prepared for a life ahead, and that's what kept us from asking you to move even for almost 2 years. But fate had something else in store for you both. It was meant to bring you and Ishani together. And now when it did, do not delay so."
Ranveer looked down and smiled softly.
"What? Are you still doubting everything, Ranveer? Why don't you--?"
Ranveer shook his head. "Maa, everytime I think of marrying Ishani, I only wonder what will happen when..." he paused, and continued with different words as Amba's smile faltered to the suppressed words she was tired of telling him. "Every girl has her dreams, her life and hopes for future. What am I supposed to give her after all she has been through? We can't deny the obvious, Maa, can we?"
"Ranveer..." she said, and took his hand in hers, as if speechless, but Ranveer continued.
"I couldn't give her anything years ago when I used to work in her house, and now when I do have it all, I don't have what she would want from me... life. Friendship, and everything she would need in her life, and most importantly Time. It might not exist in a few years. This world will all fade away someday, leaving behind her heartbreaks and pain. How would she spend her life then, Maa?"
"So, what do you want? Do you really want her to go away?"
He looked away and gulped.
"We all know very well what you want. Ranveer, doctors give an uncertain idea what might become of a patient, but the rest is in God's hands... we cannot decide anything even if we want to. You understand this?"
He still kept quiet and stared outside the window.
"Ranveer, you and Ishani love each other! She is not going anywhere, and we both know that. I might sound selfish, but I know if anyone can keep you going on in this world is, it's Ishani."
"Maa," Ranveer spoke after sometime, looking at his mother; "do you think it's right to put Ishani in a mess and make her suffer for the reasons she is not at fault at all?"
"And it's right to let her go when she wants to be with you? Ranveer, she loves you! I have seen it in her eyes. And I know she is never going to leave you, no matter what. Don't take her for granted or her love. Just... just go ahead with what your heart says and do it. Does it permit you to live without her?"
Ranveer looked back out of the window, and sighed.
"I don't want to force you, Ranveer," Amba said with finality. "You are mature enough to decide with the things you want with your life. If you think you both are better with parting your ways, I won't stop you. When has my decision mattered to you anyway?"
Without giving Ranveer another chance to speak anymore, she left while he turned back, perplexity of the feelings and thoughts too much for him to take as his headache suddenly intensified. Indeed, things were to be decided. Ishani would marry him right away, but what of their future?
Don't be stupid, Ranveer! It' the only way you know you both can be happy, a voice in his head said sharply.
"True. But was temporary happiness worth the pain she was to suffer for her entire lifetime?"
What of the pain you both will go if you don't get together? the voice persisted.
"She will suffer her whole life when I'm gone!"
You are killing her already!
"She will be happier without me."
Are you sure? Haven't you tried that enough and seen its consequences already?
Ranveer closed his eyes as Ishani's images flashed in front of them, smiling in the way he had fallen in love with her all over again. And a stream of tears left her eyes while he tried to hold on to the little strength that remained in him while pain throbbed in his head awfully.
It was killing him. It was killing her. He now understood why she didn't talk to him all these days... she had laid bare her feelings out to him, surrendering her soul to him that he had very modestly rejected; but it did break her in the quietest way possible and he, being stuck in the quest to keep her happy and away from him, hadn't noticed. His hands clenched into fists as Ishani's agonies became more evident in his mind and his heart twisted brutally in the guilt of what he was beginning to do to her. He never wanted to hurt her, and she was the only one he had been hurting for many days, weeks, perhaps.
His heart decided something as he walked out of his room and headed towards hers, but his heart skipped as he found no one there. "Ishani, you there?" he called out, but the room only answered with a gruesome silence.
He went to his mother in the hall who answered Ishani had decided to return home late as she would be busy with a meeting till the late night. It was already 8.30. How late was she supposed to get when she had already promised not to stay away from home after 8 itself? Didn't she know it was not right if she stayed away from him for this long? With the gathering of the grey clouds above in the sky, he could not leave her alone like that!
"I'll see you later, Maa. I need to find Ishani first," he said, and left the house hastily while Amba only sighed in amusement.
But where could Ishani be at this time? As he had expected, she was not in her office and he was informed of her departure from there hours ago. Silly girl! She wouldn't pick up her phone either. After one hour of embarking on his quest to search Ishani and now being completely unaware of her presence, he felt fear slowly taking over his senses and his nerves getting unsteady. He closed his eyes, breathing unevenly and sighed to keep himself calm. She had to be somewhere around. If not church either, where was she? The clouds above rumbled hoarsely, suspending the silence that he had come to feel sharply in the last few moments due to the numbness he felt.
His car in the next one hour had travelled today every possible place he could find her in and no sign of hers was seen anywhere. Not except the one that she had left her office hours ago. In the places she usually arranged the meetings, no one was there. Mr. Khanna had helped him with the schedule of hers that spoke of no important meeting where she couldn't pick up his phone calls. Fury erupted in his heart as her carelessness only brought a fear in his soul that he dared not to feel at the moment lest he would lose the last remains of sanity in his mind. Suddenly he could feel the rain droplets making their way to the ground and he sighed, resigned. His head hurt once again painfully as the vision before him blurred immediately, making it hard to view the sight in front of him. It had been happening since the surgery weeks ago, and he had tried to hide the truth from Ishani, but all had been in vain. She knew more things than he wanted her to know. But when had she not known the things that troubled him? With the passage of the time, he was failing in hiding the sentiments that he never thought of confessing to her.
He continued to drive, however, carefully now. Only Ishani's name and her smiles hovering in his thoughts gallantly that gave him the strength to continue in the failing patience that the illness brought along.
Half an hour more passed and Ranveer continued with his hunt for Ishani until his eyes fell upon a white car and he looked closely to see if he wasn't mistaken. No, he wasn't.
The entrance of a park nearby came into his sight as he stepped out of his car, his eyes not leaving the large main gate as if hoping to find her right away in the air. He parked the car sideways and entered park, the beam of the light lancing his vision suddenly prickled his eyes. What smelled over there, he could not tell; what was the thing this pleasant sound came from, he did not know. All his thoughts remained occupied by Ishani and worry for her well being. Ranveer rushed towards a solitary place, something within him telling Ishani's presence there while his eyes searched for her around, finding no sign of hers. He wanted to shout out her name, but the voice was stifled in his throat only as the headache suddenly became unbearable now, making all of his senses go numb. He groaned, taking hold of a nearby object that he distantly assumed to be a bench as he sat on it, rubbing his forehead painfully.
"Ishani, are you there?" he cried out with the remaining strength left in him, but as he heard no one respond, he felt his eyes close and all of his senses disappearing into thin air while Ishani smiled at him once again in his thoughts.
"Ranveer?" A gentle but anxious voice sprang him out of his sleep as he slowly opened his eyes, not realizing where he was until he felt someone's arm circled around him in a cradle and another hand stroking his cheek in worry.
"Ishani!" He got up and realized he was in a park that was now almost devoid of the presence of nearly everyone except him and Ishani and few more people whose voices penetrated through the darkness in hushes. It was still raining and both were drenched. Slowly his quest to find her and that panic returned back to him until he saw her face clearly. She was tired. But before he could say anything else, he felt her yell with an anger that seemed competing directly with the Masters of the Heaven above that seemed to fight a battle in the skies above until a while ago.
"Don't you get it, Ranveer?" she yelled loudly, but Ranveer God that her voice was engulfed amid the sound of the rain that had strengthened in a few moments more. "What were you doing here? 15 minutes! I have been waking you up for 15 minutes and all you did was stay unconscious! God, people use water to get people back to consciousness but that wouldn't have worked with you because you are... just leave it! And don't you know you are NOT supposed to take risks with your health at all? Don't you understand that? Always being so stupidly careless! Why don't you see it, Ranveer! What would've happened had I not come here on time? It's been raining and you just wouldn't budge from this place. Look what you've made of us both! Did you even faint? No! You had lost your brains because... you are stupid!"
Ranveer stared at her, shocked, as her ranting continued as if she had forgotten she was the one who had broken the promise and of reaching home early and was simply scolding him for taking care of her. Something he wasn't even at fault for. Too bad, he thought to himself. He didn't know, but his lips curved into a smile as he saw her speak continuously.
"Now what makes you smile all of a sudden? Look, Ranveer, you have to be careful... otherwise..." And before she added any threat to her statement, without a warning Ranveer tilted his head towards hers and suddenly captured her lips in an urgent, deep kiss, his one arm finding its way to her waist while another hand caressing her cheek softly. Her words vanished in her mouth as he kissed her gently, she clutching onto his shirt, simultaneously struggling against his chest but his hold on her too strong for her melting being that knew nothing but to love him back. She felt her eyes close as she felt her soul dissolve into his, her heart beating strangely frantically and her lips moving in the perfect sync with his; but suddenly the feel of cold rain urged her out of the moment as she opened her eyes to find Ranveer staring at her lovingly. She blushed as they separated.
"You speak so much, Ishani." he whispered in her ear while she felt herself shiver. Was it the feel of cold rain or his voice, she did not know.
"Ranveer--" she started but he placed his finger on her lips.
"Don't you dare reprimand me on these things, alright? You should've informed me already or atleast picked up my phone. I would've died waiting for you the way you sent me into panic. Silly girl."
"And you knew I would be home on time."
"I knew you, that's why I was more worried."
Shaking her head, she moved away from him and, not knowing how to react to him, stood up. Ranveer stood up as well, and as Ishani moved away, he pulled her back.
"I need to talk something," he said, holding her close.
"It's raining and it's not good for either of our health. Let's go home," she insisted, not looking at him.
"You love rains, don't you?"
"But you hate them."
"Doesn't matter, and it's better if this matter is finished right here itself." He turned her towards him and held her gaze deeply. "Ishani, I have been a jerk to you all these weeks. I'm sorry."
Ishani felt her heart skip as her palms involuntarily settled on the either side of his cheeks. "No, you needed time, and I was being stupid. I am sorry. And even all this today happened because of that..."
Ranveer shook his head, and sighed. "Ishani, you look more stupid when you defend my stupidities, you know that?"
"And you look more when repeating the same words again and again," she chuckled. "I shouldn't have been so demanding about things, Ranveer. It was my fault."
"Oh, come on! How can you blame yourself for the things in which you aren't at fault at all?"
"Ranveer, look," Ishani said, a finality in her voice. "We were both doing what we thought was right for us and each other. You being a jerk to me always comes from one reason only, doesn't it? And it's not wrong. You needed time, that's it."
"And I have decided on that as well," Ranveer said as he kissed her forehead while Ishani now looked at him hopefully.
"What?" her voice trembled while he smiled and took her hand in his. Ishani continued to look at him, surprised. He knelt before her, rain pouring over them profusely as if tears of happiness had been set free from the heart of the heavens tonight.
"Ishani," Ranveer began as his eyes stared into hers sincerely, "my life began the moment I saw you for the first time when I was a young boy of 9 years old. The moment when I stopped breathing and my life truly began. All my life, you were the diamond that I could never dare to own. The moon that never belonged to a child like me who could never leave the borders of the Earth in fear of even losing the sight of the moon if anything went wrong. You know, Ishani, I didn't even know what would happen the day you left my life forever... the day you got married. I could only shudder at the thought back then. But then it happened one day, and you were to marry Chirag. I didn't know how would things happen or how would everything move on from there, but the only thing I knew was that I had to get you settled and married to someone who would love you back as much you deserved. I didn't know Chirag's true face... and when I did, it was too late. You were already in love with him. Since then, you and I were forced and torn apart. Everything that we shared was lost somewhere, and I knew there was no life without you. I didn't know what RV had to do in this world either until I saw you in London here. Oh, I tried avoiding you for months and months until it wasn't possible anymore. You came back to my life, and so did the lost life as well.
"Ishani, I'm letting you know all of this because no matter what, Ishani and has always been an inseparable part of Ranveer's life ever since we met. Sometimes like that morning that gave him warmth of hope as long as he was alive, or sometimes like that inspiration that dragged him out of the pits of the dark abyss where there was no life, only darkness and endless pain. And sometimes like that hope that had curled itself underneath the damaged soul which saw no light, no life ever. If you ask me what you mean to me, Ishani, I wouldn't be able to explain that in words ever. All I know is that ever since I have known you, you have owned me in all the ways possible, and I never want to escape that. If I am supposed to live a long life, I want each moment of it to live with you; and if my life is not long enough, I would love to die in your arms only. So, Miss Ishani Parekh, would you please grant me the honour of being in your life forever, and be your friend, life partner, husband, best friend and all that you want in life?"
He looked upto see her face bathed in tears that mingled with the rain that had drenched them both to the bones by now completely. Ishani pulled him up and looked deeply into his eyes, and smiled.
"How do you do this all the time?" she asked, words not making their way to her thoughts properly. He chuckled and looked at her. "Yes." She leaned in and planted a kiss on his forehead. "I would love to be your best friend, wife, life partner. In short, Mrs. Ishani Ranveer Vaghela."
His smile widened at her confession as he took her in his arms, Ishani snuggling closer to him and her head buried in his chest.
"I love you, Ishani."
"I love you, too." She separated herself from him and looked at him again. "You know, Ranveer, ever since I understood love, it's always been you. I never loved Chirag. Even when I thought I loved him, I was in love with you only because he was your image, not any reality." She placed her palm on his chest that tingled softly under her touch as the beating of his heart intensified, and smiled. "He didn't have this heart. The heart that loved me only."
Ranveer wiped her tears and smiled as he understood the guilt that coursed in her heart. "Ishani, what's gone is gone, and we'll never let those memories ruin our present, alright?"
She nodded her head, and took him in a tight embrace again while he stroked her hair. "Let's go. You need some rest now and so do I."
To Ishani's surprise, for the first time, he agreed to take a rest without any arguments as they walked out of the park, hand in hand. "The driver will get you car back home in the morning."
"Cool, I'm driving back home, and you better do not argue on this!" she said and Ranveer shrugged his shoulders, surrendered. He had already broken enough rules to fall victim to her reprimands anymore. He settled himself on the passenger's seat and Ishani on the driver's one, as Ishani drove the car away.
"Where on earth you both have been?" Amba shrieked as Ishani and Ranveer entered the hall, completely drenched in rain and dripping. Ishani blushed as Amba noticed her, and smiled. "Well?"
"We were stuck somewhere, Maa," Ranveer answered as if hesitant to speak the truth.
"Stuck?" She raised her eyebrows, her worried features melting into those of amusement suddenly.
"Yes, on deciding what to do with ourselves anymore," he explained.
"So? What is the conclusion?" Amba asked calmly.
Ranveer nodded his head slightly as a sign of yes, and that was enough hint for Amba to understand what had been decided. Ishani and Ranveer drew closer to her as she took them both in her arms.
"I'm so happy for you both. So happy. We need to get started with the preparations already! There's so much to do," Amba said through her tears.
Ranveer wiped his mother's tears as they separated. "Maa, we're going to keep it simple, please? We don't have to show off anything, right?"
"He's right, Kaki," Ishani said, moving towards them. "We don't have to do so much and especially when he's recovering right now from his illness, it's better we give him enough time for that."
"But you won't have anything to do," Amba answered. "After years something so good is going to happen in our family, Ranveer's marriage. How are we not supposed to celebrate?"
Ranveer took his mother's hand in his, and sighed. "Maa, we're all happy. And happiness can be celebrated in simplicity as well, right? If you're doing this for my happiness, please understand that I'm already very happy." He looked at Ishani and smiled.
Amba caressed his cheek. "I'll talk to your Baba as well, and let's see what he has to say on this. But if you want to keep all of this simple, I will not be insisting you both on anything," she said softly. "Now, it's late and both of you go and have your dinner first."
Ranveer sat in his room, studying the files as the mansion descended in a serene quietness that he dearly admired after the entire day's tiring ventures. The weight that his heart carried for so long had finally been lifted and he felt like smiling from his heart once again after so long. As long as Ishani and his parents were there with him, things wouldn't go so bad. He sighed, tired, and put the files aside on the table and shut the lights, leaving only the dim bulbs alighted. After their confrontation finally his head felt lighter, too. Ranveer stood up from the bed and came towards the window. The night felt much more peaceful as the breeze slowly blew across the place. Stars remained fixed in the sky, shimmering, veiled under the thin layers of the clouds while the sickle moon floated gracefully about them. He wondered what Ishani would be doing right now. Perhaps she's asleep, his mind pondered. She was tired as well and he himself had frightened her awfully tonight for no good reason. He chuckled as he reminisced her face a while ago. Poor soul.
However, his thoughts came to an end when a soft knock at the door interrupted him out of his reverie, and at turning back, he saw Ishani standing there in a loosely flowing blue tank top and black jeans that managed to make Ranveer freeze in his place. He stared at her, surprised, as if he had never seen her before and he squinted his eyes at her when she entered the room.
"Well," she said as she stood in front of him and he was snapped out of his thoughts suddenly. "Are you alright? You look... crestfallen."
"Do I? But you look gorgeous!" he answered while Ishani blushed slightly and laughed.
"Ranveer, I have something serious to talk to you."
"It- it's Baa," she said worriedly. "I just talked to Maa about our engagement ceremony and she was very happy, but said Baa has refused to attend any function of our marriage and engagement. How do we convince her?"
Ranveer smiled and Ishani could see the old memories of their past had stirred in his heart, for his eyes expressed the agitation that his voice faintly tried to conceal. "Ishani, Baa is my Mota Babuji's mother, and I respect her just the same way I did years ago. But now, I have learned to live for my own happiness, too. Right now, if I cannot give up one thing is, it's you. We've seen enough to give up on each other now, and if Baa cannot attend our wedding functions, we are not going to force her either. But if she wishes to give us her blessings, she is welcome without any strand of doubt or grudges."
Ishani opened her mouth to say something but Ranveer interrupted her.
"I don't want to be rude, Ishani. Don't think that way, but do you think we should postpone our engagement and leave everything until Baa is convinced?"
Ishani shook her head twice. "But she's Baa..."
Ranveer sighed. "Yes, and that's why I'm hoping she will give up on the grudges and make a new beginning just like all of us did. There's nothing in that unpleasant past anymore. And do you trust me?"
"Then let it all be and things will be for the best only."
Ishani smiled. "What are you going to do?"
"Don't worry about what I'm going to do. Tell me one thing," he said, taking her in his arms. "Did you do anything special today? Why is your face glowing so much?"
The sudden change in his tone took Ishani off guard as she looked at him, surprised for a few moments and then shook her head. "You haven't answered my question yet," she said, snuggling close to him.
"If you do trust me, don't worry. Now answer my question."
"Does it have to have an answer?"
"Of course," he teased while Ishani slapped his shoulder jokingly.
"Don't be so innocent like this. I know the devil you are!"
"Devil? Hmm..." He nuzzled her cheek softly. "That's news to me."
She blushed as he looked at her, his teasing eyes too much for her to take. And then, her feet withdrew back from him as she felt her heart beat frantically in joy unknown to her before. He took few steps back as well, as he followed her, their eyes never leaving each others' as her back hit the wall behind gently and he eyed her with some pristine interest now. And as there was no way to escape, she, mischievously smiling, pulled him close to her, their lips barely apart and her palms resting on his chest as she smiled while her eyes glimmered in the soft glow of the room illuminated by the scrumptiously burning dim bulbs. He looked at her as suddenly slight nervousness crept in his eyes, but her smile and little forced nudge towards her was enough to melt away all his reticence as he wrapped his arms around her waist and drew close to her, his shrewd gaze slowly sliding down to her lips.
"Well," he whispered while Ishani shivered, her breath slightly quivering. She could tell her cheeks had suddenly turned red as he now traced his thumb across them slowly that rested on her lower lip. "I love you." She smiled. She loved it whenever he randomly said these words to her.
"I love you, too," she answered in the same shaking but exhilarating voice that gave away more of her nervousness than her love but it didn't matter, and wrapped her arms around his neck. He took her one hand into his and lacing his fingers in hers and kissed them gently, his eyes staring at her in awe. She returned his gesture with the sweetest smile that she could muster.
He moved closer, no distance remaining between them anymore, and planted a soft kiss on her forehead. She smiled shyly and looked down as a deep blush made it impossible for her to look at him. He pulled her chin up so that she could look into his eyes, and smiled.
"Are you happy?" he asked slowly, slight worry incised in his tone, as she now relaxed in his arms, all the worries leaving her slowly while her head rested on his chest and arms protectively curled around his neck.
"Happiest," she answered, the sound of the beating of his heart a tender comfort to her. "Could any of this be more perfect? We have our engagement in 3 days."
He smiled and pulled her impossibly closer to himself and kissed her forehead again, but this time with a burning passion that she had never experienced before as she closed her eyes. Her grip on his neck grew stronger as his lips now glided down to her eyes, kissing both her eyelids gently. She slowly brought her one hand to rest on his shoulder as her breath became unsteady while his lips made their way down to her cheeks, leaving the traces of intense love effervescing in his heart enormously, that her own heart welcoming so warmly. His hands rested on the small of her neck as he kissed her face with a patient reverence as if narrating the tale of a passionate love hidden viciously underneath the facades of the vast, unknown world and its miserable lies, and smoothly moving down towards her neck. She could feel his soft breath there. Ishani squeezed her eyes tighter as he brushed aside the strands of her hair behind her ears and his lips drew closer to her skin while she felt her heart beating stop. But before anything happened...
Ranveer and Ishani swiftly drifted apart, embarrassed and flustered, as Ishani hid herself behind him as if to give the intruder the clear idea of her absence, not knowing who had interrupted them now. Never before had she hated an interruption so much. Ranveer looked back, flustered himself, and she heard him sigh with what she thought was slight relief.
"E-Emily?" Ishani heard him stutter, his own voice quivering, while she closed her eyes, embarrassed. Thank God, it wasn't either Kaka or Kaki this time.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt you like that, but the door was open and I thought..." Emily's words faltered as she found nothing else to say. And at Ranveer's gesture, she entered the room. "Anyway, here is this packet you had asked for, Ranveer. I'm sorry, but in everything I didn't remember it until now. It's pretty late, but I thought you'd be awake." Ishani could tell the old lady seemed more embarrassed than them both, and hoped they had been more careful, for an interruption was an interruption, no matter what.
"Thank you," he said, and Ishani could feel his voice slightly shaking. The tension felt by everyone. She placed her palm on his shoulder as if to keep him composed. It worked. There was a silence for a while that Ishani did not like. Only if they could be left alone for a while.
"Well, I'll lock the door now," Emily said and, shutting the door, left. Ishani did not see her leave, but as soon as Emily was out, Ishani got out as well and without any other word to Ranveer, made her way to the exit of the room.
"Hey! Now what's wrong with you?" Ranveer asked as he followed her to the door.
"Ranveer, it's late, and we can't do it before marriage," she said and he could feel she blushed deeply.
"What do you mean by it'?" he teased and Ishani's cheeks turned red. "What are we doing, Ishani? And, come on! It's not wrong." He moved close towards her.
"Don't pretend like you don't know," she whispered, without turning back. She could have run away from him as much as possible right now, but his ever following gazes would never let her escape. "Let go of me now, Ranveer. It's late."
"No." He pulled her towards him, her back hitting his chest softly as she shivered at the close proximity they were in. She had never been so close to him before and tonight... it was different and extraordinary. It was as if all the butterflies had decided to dance frantically in her stomach and she couldn't help them fall silent anymore.
"What happened?" she asked as he brushed his cheeks against hers, his hands covering her own arms lightly that rested on her stomach.
"Nothing. Just trying to tell my soon-to-be-Mrs. Vaghela that it's not wrong."
"It isn't," she agreed. "But this is... different."
"True. But get used to it from now on." He pushed aside her hair, revealing the smooth white skin of her shoulder through her top while she felt her thoughts go numb at the sensation. He brought his lips close to her shoulder blade as an intoxication took over her senses that melted her right away in his embrace as she closed her eyes, and moved closer to him, if that was possible anymore. Ishani could feel his warm breath tickle her skin as he teased her with it in the eternal game of wait. Oh, she couldn't wait.
"Ranveer..." she whispered breathlessly, her eyes still closed while he answered with an innocent "hmm?" as if unaware of the torture she was going through because of his unnecessary wait. Didn't he know, she couldn't wait? She gasped slowly as his fingers traced the bare skin of her arms and his lips slowly brushed against her shoulder in a feather-like kiss while he lingered his lips there for a while. Ishani retracted her hand from his and touched the warm skin of his cheek. He sighed. Ishani turned back, still tightly locked in his arms, and the touch of his fingertips over the thin fabric of her top causing insane riot in her heart. He looked again at her and her feet retracted back, leading behind until her back hit the wall once again. There was no escape. He smiled and she couldn't deny she wanted to kiss him so terribly right away.
Ranveer moved closer to her as she felt short of breath at the way he looked at her, and then pushed aside the hair that teased her neck. What was happening to them tonight and why, they did not know. All they knew was they were a part of a storm that had begun the moment Ishani had set her foot into his room, and there was no stopping tonight. He brought his lips close to her neck and before she could even think of anything else, she found herself struggling to breathe as his lips traced her skin softly in the same patience that had the ability to even kill her in the sweetest way possible, coloured with a passion that she was sure would burn her completely soon enough. But she did not care. She couldn't.
"Ranveer..." she whispered breathlessly once again, her hand settled at the back of his head while another one resting on his cheek like it did few moments ago. He didn't stop as his kisses spread all over her neck until she could not breathe. He finally himself pulled away and looked into her eyes, fire in them burning her heart thoroughly. And this time, she couldn't wait. His eyes were always enough to make her lose the tracks of everything she knew and tonight was no different.
Ishani, without waiting anymore for anything else, grabbed the collar of his shirt and pulled him closer to herself and slammed her lips against his, not a gentle one like they were used to so far. It was fierce and passionate. He slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her close to him, while her own hand ran through his neck in a desperate attempt to pull him as close to her as possible while their eyes remained closed. His lips devoured hers intensely as though it was the last moment of their existence and they had to live through it. Excitement spread through her veins as the kiss intensified strongly, their lips colliding in an intensity never known before and their hearts throbbed frantically in a vivid threat to burst out immediately of happiness that had no end, and they couldn't care of anything right now.
For a moment, the whole world blurred down to a faint shadow as nothing existed beyond the moment they were in until a sharp sound from the phone of Ranveer's rang out. They separated, slowly opening the eyes.
"Damn!" growled Ranveer as he moved away from her, irritated, but instead of disconnecting the call, picked it up. It was urgent, Ishani thought.
"I'll see you tomorrow," she whispered in his ear and giving a soft peck on his neck, rushed away, leaving Ranveer surprised and shocked. He must have forgotten to talk for a while now, she was sure.
Ishani came back to her room, her heart beats unsteady as she fell on the bed tiredly, and thinking of everything that had just happened between them both.
How could everything change so much in a few weeks? But it was a change she had completely fallen in love with. Few more days, and another chapter of their life would begin.
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