Joined: 27 April 2014
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Joined: 27 April 2014
Hi, guys! Oh, yeah, I've tried posting the chapter sooner this time. And I hope it's not the shoes and sandal worthy. *hides in a shadow already*
Ishani opened her eyes slightly, night still heavy upon the dawn as the stars above burned faintly in the rosy sky that flushed with the insinuation of the dawn. As she shifted in her place, she felt herself tightly locked in a pair of arms. Her eyes opened immediately, the last remnants of the slumber leaving her completely as she realized she was in the backyard, and in that moment beside Ranveer, her head resting on his shoulder while her hand like before on his heart which still pulsated with the same comforting rhythm as before. Not wanting to get up right away, she pulled the blanket up close to themselves and huddled herself closer to him more. As she lay there, Ishani wondered what it would be like to wake up every morning like this in his arms as he remained oblivious to all the pains and heartaches and slept peacefully next to her. A smile crept over her lips at the thoughts as she felt him move slightly. Suddenly, mischief rose in her heart and Ishani slowly pulled his right cheek and giggled to herself slowly as he twitched his lips slightly in hazy irritation. Ishani again pulled his cheeks, this time little roughly and at no reaction of his, she pressed her palm into his cheeks as though to check how deeply he could sleep when she left no chance to irritate him in his sleep tonight. But as she brought her hand close to his cheek the next time, Ranveer's hand caught hers and with a start Ishani retracted back. He widened his eyes and laughed.
"Ranveer, stop it! You look scary!" Ishani cried.
"Scary? I thought I looked cute!" he said, sitting up.
"Height of self praise, I swear!" Ishani rolled her eyes and slapped his shoulder harshly.
"Ow, that hurts, Sunny!"
"Don't call me that!"
"But you are Sunny!"
"I don't like being called Sunny Deol!"
"What about Loen, then?" he smirked. "You know..."
But before Ranveer could form any sentence, Ishani attacked him hastily but for her luck too late now, for Ranveer already stood up and ran away for his life, Ishani following behind closely.
"Don't you ever dare call me Sunny," she breathed out, following him while Ranveer ran from tree to tree, hiding away from her.
"I see no reason why you shouldn't be, by the way," he panted. "Making me do my morning walk long before it's even my morning! You sure are Sunny Doel!"
"How dare you, Ranveer Vaghela!" Ishani cried out and picked up a large stone from the ground while Ranveer now rushed from the nearby place he stood to the large tree that considerably did the job of hiding him from Ishani.
"Ishani, don't turn into a maniac today. It's your birthday, alright?"
"Just because of that, I'm not going to spare you! Where are you, damn! Don't hide!"
"Look, that's not snowball in your hand, but a gigantic stone. Put that down first."
Ishani huffed. "I won't!" she growled.
"Fine! I'm not coming to you either!"
Ranveer closed his eyes in relief as Ishani remained quiet for a while but as soon as he opened them, breathing lightly now, he heard Ishani run towards him.
"God, Sunny! What the hell is wrong? Just look at you!"
"You started this!" she said, breathing heavily. "Stop calling me Sunny!"
And as Ishani moved slightly further, her right foot twisted and she toppled on the ground but in the nick of time found Ranveer holding her in his arms, their eyes all of a sudden locked in a passionate gaze as he held her by her waist, and her arms curled around his neck for the support she dearly needed. Slowly, Ranveer made her stand on the ground properly and Ishani awkwardly retracted her arms from around his neck, looking at him as a smile passed through her lips.
"Thank you," she said, still feigning the anger she did not at all feel.
"Ishani, let it go. I was just kidding, alright?"
"You do this all the time, Ranveer. All the time keep doing the things I don't like!"
"Really?" he said, and pulled her towards him, leaving Ishani surprised as she struggled against him. He shook his head. "You amuse me all the time!"
"But you more! Let me go," Ishani said, still struggling.
"Why?" he whispered in her ear while she shivered, her attempts to get away from his slackening.
"Ranveer, you better let me go now! It's morning now! We need to go home before Kaka or Kaki wake up."
"Don't worry. They've gone to a friend's. They'll be returning late. Said, they had to do some shopping as well for tomorrow. We're alone today."
"Emily? I don't want that embarrassment again. Please?"
"Alright, Miss." Ranveer freed her while Ishani smiled happily and they returned back to the place they had slept, and sat together. Ishani smiled at Ranveer as she placed her head on his shoulder.
"It's so calm. So beautiful."
"Right!" He looked at her.
"I'm talking about the sky, idiot!"
Ranveer chuckled. "I know."
"Shh." Ishani placed her fingers on his lips and smiled and looked at the sky.
The sky had surrendered to the rosy blush of the dawn even though the occasional stars winked from the heaven above quietly, now cold as though rigid with the realization of their departure until the darkness enveloped the world once again, melting the glory of the daybreak into the propriety of the night so that the stars shone again. Ishani slipped her hand in Ranveer's as he squeezed it gently while their eyes devoured the colours in the paradise above, playing their timeless games as the sun ascended from the thin line of the horizon in tender defiance, spilling the slender streaks of the hues of yellow and red in the hazy sky as the faint layers of the clouds illumined with the pouring colours of the morning sun. The lake before them shimmered in the torrential sparks of the sunlight that exploded profoundly above the stirring town.
"One more day," Ranveer whispered dreamily and Ishani looked at him, confused.
"Ishani Parekh, one more to go for our engagement! This dawn only means we've inched one day closer to our new life!" he said, his eyes gleaming radiantly as the darkness finally bid adieu for the day and the sun blazed brilliantly over the town.
Ishani smiled at his childlike excitement while he kissed her forehead.
"Ranveer, control!" she laughed and Ranveer blushed immediately. "You look cute when you let go of the brokenness within you, Ranveer. Always remain like this."
He smiled and nodded, caressing her cheek.
"I've seen this Ranveer after so long, and I don't want to lose him again."
In answer, Ranveer only softly kissed her palm.
The day broke with countless birthday wishes for Ishani as her phone rang for the first time in 3 years not for the information or news about the business meetings or family troubles, but for a day that seemed impossible to happen in this lifetime. And the best news for the day? Her family's arrival for the engagement tonight, including Baa who had somehow agreed to attend the marriage and engagement ceremonies at the last moment, surprising everyone as they all were about to leave for the airport. Ishani smiled cheerfully as the messages and gifts poured one by one in her room either from the employees or from her friends in the business world. As she sat there in her room, her mid full of the things to be done the next day, a knock at the door jerked her out of her thoughts. At turning back, she saw Kailash and Amba standing there, smiling at her.
"Kaka! Kaki! Please come." She descended from the bed and touched their feet who returned the gesture with their blessings, and smiled.
"Wishing you a very happy birthday, Ishani," Kailash said as Ishani stood up, her eyes cast down. "It's truly amazing that all the auspicious days are falling at the most right time and thus making the celebrations manifold enjoyable."
Amba agreed with her husband as she, too, blessed Ishani. "What do you want for your birthday, Ishani?" Amba asked, smiling.
"Kaki, can you please give me that?" Ishani asked hopefully while the old woman looked slightly taken aback.
"What is it I can't give you, Ishani? Anything. I'll do my best to give whatever you want." She smiled.
Ishani thought for a minute and then spoke. "Kaki, can you please forgive my family? My Maa, Papa, Sharman bhaiya, Pratiek, Devarsh, Kaka, Kaki, Disha and Baa? All of them? Please?" Her voice sank down to a desperate plea as the old woman's eyes looked steely into hers. "Kaki, please? Ranveer has forgiven them. Kaka? Kaki? Please?" Her eyes wandered from Kailash and Amba in hope as she saw Kailash's features soften.
But Amba remained silent for a while and then cleared her throat. "At times it's better to let the things be the way they are, Ishani. Time will heal them eventually. I have no right to say anything about your family despite all they have done to us, except that for your and Ranveer's happiness, they are always welcome in this household without any question or grudge. Neither of us will ever question them anything from now on. But if forgiveness is the final destination of this journey, I'm afraid, it can't be reached now. Perhaps there's still a lot to go and get healed. But it's not right now."
"Kaki..." Ishani looked at her hopelessly.
"Ishani, please try to understand. How would you react if they were not your family but had treated Ranveer the way they did all those years ago? There wasn't a single day he wasn't humiliated. And it's not easy to let go of all that so easily. In these years, I have let that past go enough to not let it become a hurdle in my Ranveer's life anymore. We love him, and if this means accepting to let Baa stay here for a week, we will do that. But it's not forgiveness, darling. Not now."
Ishani lowered her head and took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, Kaki," she whispered, and smiled slowly. "I had become selfish, oblivious to the memories that might never leave you both and Ranveer at all. Please forgive me. I know you need time..."
"No, no," Amba lifted her face up and looked into her eyes. "Ishani, this is not the day to be sad for you. Today your family's arriving, go and get ready to welcome them."
Ishani smiled and nodded her head.
"Alright. Now, I'm leaving. There are a lot of preparations to be done."
Amba left while Ishani turned to look at Kailash who smiled at her warmly.
"Give your Kaki some time, Ishani, and she'll be fine."
Ishani nodded her head smiled.
"Well, you didn't say anything about your birthday gift?"
Ishani hesitated a little, and her eyes lowered down. "Kaka," she spoke slowly, "please get me and Ranveer married soon."
He laughed at Ishani's antics as she smiled embarrassingly, realizing what she had just said.
"Don't worry, Ishani," Kailash said. "Let Baa and your family come, we'll decide on that as well. And trust me, the date is going to be the soonest we can afford."
"Thank you!" Ishani said as she hugged Kailash immediately who smiled back at her and left as well.
Out of all the people today, where was Ranveer, Ishani wondered, for she hadn't seen him since morning at all, and he not picking up her calls did no good as Ishani at times felt her blood boil at his ignorance. However, she realized there were hundreds of the tasks to be finished before this evening and he must be busy somewhere in them. But why couldn't she see him for once?
Her thoughts came to an end as another knock at the door jolted her out of her reverie.
"Yes?" Ishani looked back to find a helper smiling at her.
"It's Mr. RV's lawyer. He wants to meet you."
"Fine." Ishani sighed.
The young lady left as Ishani looked at her reflection in the mirror, and walked out of the room. Descending the stairs her eyes fell upon Mr. Stephen, Ranveer's lawyer and a trustworthy friend who she had met several times in certain meetings before. But what he had to do with Ishani today was beyond her. Ishani smiled as she stood in front of Mr. Stephen, who at her sudden influx stood up himself.
"A very happy birthday to you, Miss Parekh," he said, extending his hand towards Ishani.
"Thank you," she answered, shaking her hands with him, surprised how did he know about the day being her birthday, but kept quiet knowing it wasn't really a hidden fact anymore.
"Miss Parekh, here is a little gift from you that Mr. RV wanted me to bestow to you before this afternoon." He offered Ishani a large grey file and upon opening it, Ishani found her mouth fall open in shock.
"What-what is this?" Ishani stuttered, tears suddenly welling up in her eyes that made the lawyer's eyes slightly dilate in surprise.
"It's Mr. RV's will. He has declared you the owner of his empire since this day as he wanted it to be your birthday."
"What! But"how can he do this? He never talked to me about this!" Ishani said, more to herself than the man before her as the idea of Ranveer making her the owner of his entire property seemed more menacing than enticing in the circumstances their lives had been. She shook her head and sighed. "Where is he right now?"
"In a meeting right now."
Ishani turned back with a nod, giving the lawyer a cue to leave as she herself walked back to the porch which lay deserted under the yellow sunlight of the morning filtering through the dense trees. Why did he have to relapse back every time after making those promises to her? Didn't they both promise to stick by each other's side no matter what? What did this gesture of him mean? Despite all, Ishani could not deny that Ranveer still carried the tiny flicker of fear in his heart that had not yet been relinquished from his thoughts thoroughly after all that had happened. He still doubted his fate, and this gesture was his own way to keep his thoughts secure about her and future, in case...
Ishani abruptly jolted out of her thoughts as the truth of her own feelings dawned upon her, tears more rapid than before as she clutched on to the edge of the bench she sat upon tightly. Why couldn't he for once let it go and begin a new life? Didn't he trust her enough? Didn't he trust their love enough still? Cries of agony died in her throat as tears of pain rapidly escaped her eyes, making her more helpless against his stubbornness that knew no end.
Time passed on, but Ishani heard nothing from Ranveer as the shadows of the trees hovered higher above her, now more dense, reflecting it to be the late morning when the sun drew over the horizon and above the town in full. However, in a while her thoughts came to an end as the thud of the footsteps sounded in the alleyway adjoining the porch. Ishani composed herself, hoping no one came to meet her, and most of all, not Ranveer. Not now.
It wasn't him.
"Ishani," Puneet's usual jovial voice called out to her and she sighed, slightly relieved. "I've been looking for you for so long. And you're here!" He came further and sat beside Ishani on the bench.
Ishani wiped her tears and smiled, her eyes deceiving the smile she offered.
"Are you alright?" Puneet asked as he saw her eyes red.
Ishani nodded. "Yes."
"You don't look too well, Ishani. What happened?"
Ishani felt her thoughts blur once again as tears helplessly cascaded out of her eyes, but she took a deep breath, trying not to give in to the temptation of the pain once again. "I'm alright," her small voice whispered the lie.
"Ishani, did anyone say anything to you?"
Ishani gasped. These were the same words Ranveer had said the last night. Why did he affect everyone like that? Idiot!
"What does he think of himself, Puneet? He never stops talking about love and its promises, and yet is himself the one breaking them first. I don't know what to do with him anymore. He drives me crazy with his antics. All the time!" Ishani said in a breath while Puneet smiled.
"What did he do now?"
Ishani handed him the papers of Ranveer's will, according to which she was the owner of his company since that day, and had no right to change it at her own will. "This!" Ishani snapped. "Why would he do this when we're about to get married within a few days? Just... why can't he for once stop thinking about this future and stick in the present?"
"Ishani, it's nothing wrong. He's taking precautions and that's perfectly fine. Don't panic so much," Puneet said softly.
"You don't understand," Ishani answered. "I want him to let go of that fear... that pain that he doesn't want to live without. Masochist that he is!"
"He doesn't enjoy any pain, Ishani. He's doing the most practical thing at this moment. His parents agreed on this as well, and it's why he has taken this step. Wouldn't you have done the same thing as well if you were at his place?"
"Ishani, look. Despite all, I'm not completely aware of your equation- or past, to be more accurate- with RV sir, but I know he loves you very, very, very much and if he's doing something, it's for the good of you both. And what's wrong if you are the owner of RV Empire from now on? Nothing, right? Nothing's going to change even now. It would all go on the same way it did. RV sir wants security of yours and his parents in case something goes wrong, but how do we blame him?" Puneet explained.
Ishani opened her mouth to say something, trying to form some words that would not leave her throat as she eyed Puneet quietly who observed her face with a smile.
"Ishani, just because he's giving you certain responsibilities doesn't mean he isn't keeping up with his promises. And it doesn't mean either that he wants to give up or loves seeing you suffer like this. It only means what I've said before. And just because of these decisions of his, it doesn't mean you have to take any extra stress on yourself. Let everything go the way it did, alright? And give him some time. That's what he needs the most right now."
Ishani wiped her tears and smiled lightly. Did she really over react at times? And why wouldn't she? Just like him, she too cared about him. "Thank you, Puneet," she said after al while. "I think I was just over reacting."
"I don't blame you, though," Puneet chuckled. "He does have this habit of frightening the hell out of people at times."
Ishani's smiled widened as she remembered Ranveer's habit of being over protective about the people he loved.
"Good girl! Well, I'd come here to wish you a birthday... Anyway, happy birthday, Ishani!"
Ishani smiled back and answered with a warm thank you as Puneet stood up. "I need to go for now. See you later, Ishani."
"Puneet, wait!" She dragged him by his hand and made him sit on the bench once again.
"What?" he asked, surprised, and rubbing his arm that ached due to the strain she had given him just now. Ishani smiled to herself softly as she recalled had Ranveer been here right now, he wouldn't have shied away from calling her "Sunny" once again.
Ishani looked at Puneet. "Thank you!"
He looked confused. "What for? You just said for the birthday wish, remember?"
"Not for that, silly. For taking care of my Ranveer all those months he was alone," Ishani spoke, her eyes gleaming gently. "I know you just haven't been his most trusted employee, but also the only friend he has had ever since we parted that day. And no matter how much I say it, I can't thank you enough for that, Puneet."
"Ishani... it's-it's alright. It wasn't like..."
"You don't really understand my feelings right now, Puneet. But trust me, now when I look back do I realize how important you truly have been in this story. I can't ever thank you enough, Puneet. Never."
Puneet smiled and shrugged his shoulders. "I couldn't have done anything better than that, though," he answered at length. "RV sir has had many favours on me ever since I joined in his company, and if you think I was even of a little help to him, I truly feel honoured."
Ishani only smiled in return as she wiped her tears away.
"I didn't mean to make the birthday girl cry," Puneet answered as he saw few more tears escape her eyes.
"It's nothing like that. Don't worry," she smiled.
"Sally has sent her own share of wishes for you. She said she was sorry for not being here today, but tomorrow, she's returning."
"Tell her I'm very thankful for having her as one of my closest friends out there." Ishani smiled. "And we'll be waiting for her impatiently until she returns."
Puneet nodded his head and smiled. "Alright, then. I should leave now."
Puneet left as Ishani stood up and walked upto the edge of the porch, the sunlight now more radiant with the passing of the time. Puneet was right. She needed to understand Ranveer and give him time after everything he had been through. But where was he? Ishani hadn't seen him since the morning, but before her thoughts could travel anywhere, she felt someone wrap his arms around her waist and pull her towards him close. The same intoxication again took over her senses as she found herself melting in his embrace and smiled. He buried his head in her hair while Ishani sighed, contented.
"So?" Ishani asked, not moving from her place even though her heart raced with a rapid urgency. "I thought you were busy. No time for anyone... for me, you know."
His head still remained buried in her hair but she could feel him smile as her own lips curved into one. "Well, now I do need to work, don't I?"
"You can postpone that for a while now," Ishani said, trailing her hand over his.
Ranveer separated himself from her and turned her towards him while Ishani blushed at the way his searching eyes scorched her thoroughly.
"I think all the men are like that," Ishani teased that made Ranveer contort his face in a scowl, but Ishani continued. "Look, until yesterday you were all about Ishani, Ishani. But now, you're too busy for the poor soul that has been waiting desperately for you since this morning."
"Waiting desperately? I see." Ranveer nuzzled her cheek softly as Ishani clutched upon his shirt tightly, gradually losing herself in the moment as his lips slowly traced her cheeks, moving down towards her lips tentatively. Ishani gasped as the morning sun forced her to keep herself from giving in to the delightful fantasies her heart formed at their close proximity.
"Ranveer," she spoke in a hoarse whisper, struggling to keep her sanity intact that threatened to shatter any moment as his lips nibbled the skin of her cheek tenderly. "It's... it's... not now..." She somehow managed to separate herself from him while he sighed.
"Now, what do you say? See? I'm not going to forget you at all," he teased and Ishani slapped on his chest, squinting her eyes.
"Your lawyer, Mr. Stephen, had come here today, Ranveer," Ishani said after some time, and looked at him. "Why?"
"Ishani, it's not a big deal, alright? I needed to..."
"I know," she answered. "But you do know how to frighten the hell out of me, don't you?"
Ranveer chuckled. "It still surprises me, being Sunny that you are, how can you get scared at all?"
"Ranveer!" Ishani gestured strangling his neck as she ran behind him, Ranveer rushing away quickly.
"Alright, alright..." he panted as Ishani caught him after 5 minutes and twisted his arm.
"Now... don't ever call me Sunny!"
"Look," Ranveer laughed once again, "You keep proving me that again and again. And by the way, I only call you Sunny, and it's upto you to decide what Sunny you want yourself to imagine into."
Ishani glared at his smirking face while Ranveer now darted away from her grasp, Ishani determinedly following him. He rushed into his room while Ishani, too, entered the room before it was too late, now panting.
"Now," she spoke.
"Ishani, nothing stupid, alright?"
Ishani only fumed furiously at him.
"Alright, I'm not calling you Sunny for the day. Fine?"
"Come down first," Ishani said as she realized he now stood on his king sized bed.
Ranveer descended from the bed, now steadily breathing, as Ishani lovingly wrapped her arms around his neck.
"What is it?" he asked.
"Tomorrow we're getting engaged. A day I have waited for so long." The sudden change in her tone took Ranveer by surprise as he wrapped his arms around her waist and smiled.
"I know. It's like this all is a dream and I'll wake up the next day and it all will be gone..."
"I'm not going anywhere," Ishani said as his face relaxed slightly in a smile. "Our promises are always going to be true, no matter what future holds for us."
"If those promises are broken, I'll die..." Ishani placed her palm on his lips before he could finish his words.
"Please don't say that, Ranveer!"
Ranveer took her hand in his and kissed it. "Everything happening is too good to be true. I need some time to believe you're actually here, beside me as my soon-to-be-wife."
"You can take all the time, Ranveer. All the time you want."
He smiled and took her in his arms. "I haven't heard anything from Falguni Maa. When are they coming?"
"Today evening," Ishani answered. "Even Baa is coming, I'm sure you know of that?"
Ranveer gulped slightly and smiled. "It's good she agreed, isn't it?"
"What did you do?"
"What did you do to convince her? I can smell your part in it."
"Sharman, Devarsh and Pratiek did the job for me. Them being her dearest grandchildren, so..."
"Even Disha is coming, Ranveer," Ishani said, bitterness explicit in her tone.
Ranveer stroked her face as he tucked aside the strands of her hair and smiled. "I know." Ishani kept quiet and Ranveer continued. "Ishani, once Baa and Disha do come here, you won't behave rudely with them, alright?"
"I can't pretend to feel what I don't feel at all for them. I don't have a heart like you."
"Ishani, it's a matter of a few days only. And anyway, Disha is your sister. You can't give up on her for some stupid reasons!"
"That's no stupid reason, Ranveer," Ishani answered defensively. "Whatever they did to you... all of their lies and hatred. How can someone hate another so much when they have been so loyal to you all their life? Even heartless won't do that. It's not easy to forget, Ranveer. Not those images of that night..."
"Ishani." He pulled her chin up and she looked into his eyes. "We've talked over this already, right? It's not going to change anything. Only we have to move on from our excruciating past. That's it."
"Can you?" Ishani asked, and he gasped in surprised. "No, not for me or Papa, Ranveer. Can you forgive them for themselves and move on for themselves only?"
Ranveer smiled. "If I can move on from the past for you, Ishani, can you do the same for me?"
Ishani had found her answer. In the Parekh Family, they both still remained those outsiders who were accepted because of a man who had selflessly accepted them and made them who they were today. No matter how much Ranveer said it, deep down, she knew he could not somewhere forgive anyone who had hurt his parents and him, but for the sake of his Mota Babuji, he had decided to bury that grudge underneath the only thing he knew to return: Love.
"Does it make you happy?" she asked after sometime, and Ranveer smiled.
"Then I think I will try to." She placed her head on his chest and closed her eyes. Perhaps, as her Kaki had said, passing time will indeed heal more wounds?
Ishani welcomed the next day genially as the voice of her mother woke her up from delicious slumber. She yawned heavily as she slowly opened her eyes. The sun was still hidden behind the horizon but for the first time in her life her heart felt a joy it had never before known. At Ranveer's insistence, her family had decided to stay in his house even though his mother did not truly like the idea. Her own mother thought it was bad, but Ranveer and his father would not budge from the decision they had made and thus her mother reluctantly had agreed on staying back when they were to be checking in to the hotel rooms. When her family had arrived the last night, Ishani had only yearned to see the look of amazement on Baa and Disha's faces who had mocked him all those years ago, because for them his life held no importance for being a servant in their house. And it had been worth the long wait as she had only played in her mind their reactions as they saw the Empire Ranveer now owned on his own. Her heart was filled with pride as Baa and Disha had stared at the Mansion with their eyes wide open and Ishani had smiled at them, holding Ranveer's hand, who had looked both happy and uncomfortable as the way he was treated now. Chaitali Kaki had begun with her usual rants on how she always believed Ranveer would do the best in his life while other cousins had only had admiration and respect for Ranveer and his family. What Ranveer felt in his heart, Ishani had been unable to decipher, except his grip on her hand had grown stronger the moment her family had turned up, and his face was rigid and expressionless. And Ishani had only smiled at him, as if to make him trust her to fight his worst fears when he saw his painful past hovering above him treacherously.
And once again it had been clear that past never truly left you even if you had believed to have moved on. Today, time had changed, fates had changed and so did the glances of the people. Ishani had smiled in contentment as she had seen her family make their way to the house, eyeing everything with awe and wonder.
"Get ready, Ishani. You're going to be busy from now on," her mother's words woke her up from her reverie and she looked up.
"Coming, Maa," she answered back and descended from the bed quickly.
Time was drawing near when the painful wait would finally come to an end; when her finger would finally wear the ring of his name... Ranveer's ring. Ishani smiled to herself as she thought about him. What he might be thinking right now? Did he also feel the same jitters the way she did? Butterflies? Only if she could talk to him once. But she knew they wouldn't have a moment to spare for each other from now as all the rituals had already begun from that day. And worst of all, she thought, was going to be the one where they wouldn't be able to see each other for an entire day.
Ishani sighed as she looked forward for the day to proceed on that perhaps was going to be the longest day of her life.
Ranveer stared at his reflection in the mirror as a calm smile spread over his face, quietly creeping at the realization at what moment was about to come into their lives. Finally he was getting engaged to Ishani! The thought that once seemed an excruciating impossibility was an aching reality today. They hadn't met for the whole day today, and he wondered how they were going to survive the next rituals at all. But it was as his mother had told him that it was the matter of only three days and they would be together forever, never separated by any means.
"Ranveer... it's time," Sharman called out as Ranveer smiled at him.
The ceremony, however simple, had been full of guests and friends as his mother hadn't left a single family she knew from inviting. The mansion gave off the look of a newly wedded bride as flowers of various colours blushed over the railings. The murmurs of the guests reaching to him quietly as he descended the stairs, marveling at the day that finally had come.
Ranveer smiled at himself as he found himself lost amongst the unknown faces of the guests, his eyes searching for Ishani only who seemed to have not arrived yet in the function. He could see all the Puneet, Sally and Rishi together, talking to each other as few more people joined them and they were lost amongst the crowd, nit found again. As the time passed, Ranveer only longed to get one single glimpse of Ishani. And when the time seemed endless, it was then he saw her, walking slowly towards him wearing a royal blue full sleeve skater skirt that flowed gracefully slightly below her knees while her silky hair streamed about her right shoulder, giving her a look of that of an angel he dearly admired. Ishani blushed lightly as she saw him staring at her, stealing gazes from the guests to look at him. Their eyes rarely left each other while they talked to the guests, and it was after about twenty minutes when Ishani found her way to him and looped her arms around his, surprising him.
"Wow, you look hot!" she said slowly and Ranveer raised his eyebrows.
"You aren't supposed to say that amidst the guests, really. Keep quiet!"
"Your employees can say that, not Ishani?" She scowled.
"Not here, sweetheart," Ranveer said, stroking her cheeks.
Ishani smiled. "I can't believe it's all real! It seems... so different."
"True," he sighed. "I talked to Maa today, and she said the date of the marriage has been fixed 2 days later from today. That is total three days."
Ishani gasped, her mouth wide open in surprise. "Why didn't you inform me about it sooner, Ranveer? We need to get all preparation done already!"
"Relax, sweetheart," Ranveer answered. "All the preparations are done already. And anyway, it was Falguni Maa and Baa who had decided on the date. So, basically, we have less time to wait than we'd originally thought."
Ishani smiled at him warmly, her cheeks crimson. "But you know what? I hate the fact we won't be able to see each other for a whole day let alone talk at all."
"I know," Ranveer answered in the same disappointed tone as Ishani did. "But this is something we'll have to go through for a day at least."
"I think I can do that," she said, pulling his cheeks and smiled.
"It's time!" A voice rang out loud as Ishani and Ranveer looked towards the direction of it, their hearts suddenly racing wildly as their hands clasped in each other's. They looked at each other while everyone from the family gathered about them in a circle, covering their ways to them. Baa, being the oldest member from both the families, performed the rituals before the rings were presented to both of them, placed on a royal pedestal. Ishani looked up at Ranveer who looked hopelessly charming in the navy blue three piece suit he donned while a baby blue pocket square along with a pale pink tie complemented his look. He raised his one eyebrow as he saw her but Ishani only smiled at him, thankful that no one else saw them with their quirky antics that would only lead to unnecessary attentions and teasing from the cousins who seemed to have nothing better to do ever since they had come.
"Now," Amba said as she handed over Ranveer a gorgeous posh diamond solitaire, glittering brilliantly in the translucent glow of the hall. Gracefully, he took Ishani's hand in his and before she could fathom anything happening within her, he slipped the ring in her finger as she felt her heart beat stop for a moment. He smiled at her. Ishani, too, picked up the ring and gently slid it in Ranveer's finger. The rings glowed valiantly in the soft radiance of the hall while they felt their world swirl gradually and halt at each other's thoughts. The crowd clapped and rejoiced and congratulated them but Ishani and Ranveer stared at each other as if wondering the moment they had felt too close was real or another part of their dreams that shattered before even coming true. Neither of them bothered to hide away the slightest bit of their emotions as the light traces of the tears coursed down their cheeks, exhibiting the felicity their hearts felt in that moment. They had imagined this moment thousands of times in their thoughts, hoping it to be extraordinary, and at times discussed with each other, but the reality was far too different than what they had ever imagined. For the first time their hearts stung with a painful beauty that neither of them ever wanted to go away. Pain was a part of their being, and if happiness stayed behind with this wonderful sting, it was all gladly welcome.
Slowly, Ranveer walked towards Ishani who seemed frozen in her place but smiled back as she felt him advance towards her from her tearful vision. The world around them suddenly mattered no more as once again the crowd disappeared perhaps in a shadow of nothingness and all that remained were they both. Their love and heartaches. Ranveer stood in front of her while Ishani only stared at him and realized their lives had after all been changed into what neither had ever thought of it turning into. Her heart ached as she felt him raise his hand and softly caress her cheeks, wiping away the tears that profusely pronounced of her happiness tonight. Ishani, too, brought her hands to his cheeks and wiped his tears gently. The signs of pain and loss left his face as he slowly leaned towards her and kissed her forehead. Ishani closed her eyes and smiled through her tears while Ranveer again wiped them away.
"This is the first step to our relationship, Ishani," he whispered and Ishani opened her eyes.
"I can't believe this is true. I've waited for this moment for so long, Ranveer." She eyed her engagement ring that glowed more radiantly in her finger now. He again kissed her forehead and wrapped his arms around her while Ishani rested her head on his chest and smiled.
"This is all real," he answered, tightening his arms around her more and pulling her close to him.
"Ranveer," Ishani spoke after sometime while he nodded, "we're not in our room, remember?"
He chuckled softly and pulled her towards him more. "We don't have to worry about that right now," he answered, his voice laced with love and care. "We're officially engaged and a couple now."
Ishani separated herself from him and kissed his hand. "The wait now is going to be the longest," she said.
Ranveer sighed and nodded, a helpless look on his face. But this time, wait was worth it.
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