Posted: 11 May 2007 at 4:39am
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Thanks for the encouragement anu93 and Taran. Since I had already written Chapter Two, I'm posting that as well. Hope you enjoy reading it. Please feel free to let me know what you really think. Sorry about the change of font. I'm having a spot of trouble with the formatting.
The next morning....
Adi sped up the drive leading to the car park at college. As he leaned to collect his books from the back seat, he was hailed by Dhruv and Rajveer. Dhruv lunged at him playfully, "You lucky bas***d, My allowance this month is all gone due to you, how on earth did you get around Natasha, she acts like bloody miss ice queen around me." Rajveer quickly put in "me too buddy, me too, doesn't even look properly at me." "Of course, the Vikram Aditya Mehra brand of charm is too much for any mere mortal girl to take, Adi bragged, his eyes twinkling, 'they simply can't resist me." Dhruv rolled his eyes and the three of them laughed. "Oh! lookie, here's the secretary to the witch, Dhruv said suddenly, seeing Maithili outside their class doors. "So," drawled Dhruv in his most condescending voice, "are you planning to stop us from entering class again, Ms. Maithili, let me inform you that there are still ten minutes for class to begin." Maithili looked up at the three guys, "There's no need to be nasty Dhruv," she told him quietly, "I haven't come here to speak with you." "Oh!," Dhruv laughed sarcastically, I am so..ooo disappointed, please, please talk to me."
Maithili ignored him, looked up at Adi who was watching the proceedings quietly, a small frown on his face, and addressed him, "Actually, I wanted to speak with you Adi, maybe in lunch break, can you spare some time." "Oh! guess what Maithili," countered Dhruv nastily, "Adi does not wish to speak with you, so bugger off" Maithili ignored Dhruv again and looked at Adi again, her eyes hopeful. "Okay, I'll look for you during lunch," Adi told her and both Dhruv and Rajveer turned to look at him, utterly surprised. She smiled at him, Thanks Adi" and walked away leaving the three guys looking after her.
Dhruv turned to Adi, "What! Am I hearing things or did you just fix a date with the boring secretary?" "Oh shut up Dhruv," Adi threw him a glare, "it's hardly a date, she just wants to speak with me about something." "Yeah, right! And since when does she just want to speak with you about anything," asked Dhruv, raising his eyebrows suggestively, "Or is there something you've been keeping to yourself, some deep dark secret" "Dhruv, get your mind out of the gutter", said Adi, rolling his eyes at him. "That's rich, coming from you, replied Dhruv snarkily, "But, Adi, don't you just hate her, remember the morphed pictures, the taunts, the fights," put in Rajveer looking concerned. "I know I hated her at one time, actually, come to think about it, I hated her guts but the fact is that she has helped me quite a bit recently, she has been nice to me and the Lord knows, I don't deserve any consideration from her, so, I realize I don't hate her anymore," Adi told them, "She actually came to my house to apologise for her behaviour to my mother, you know, and knowing how I felt about her, it could not have been easy for her. She has helped me guys, and I've spoken to her a couple of times outside college, I think she's okay really, what's more, I think we must stop baiting her, okay guys." Adi looked at his two best friends. Rajveer nodded slowly, Dhruv still looked slightly skeptical but shrugged "Okay dude, whatever! Come, its time for class."
Adi walked into class after the two of them, his mind running over the conversation with Maithili, 'Never knew that Maithili has such pretty eyes', he thought slowly, a part of him amazed at this train of thought, as he sat down next to Dhruv, 'such an unusual colour, like…like honey, translucent brown,' he recalled with clarity. As she had turned to look at him, a ray of sun had fallen on her face highlighting her eyes. 'It's so strange,' he thought, 'I've spoken with her a zillion times and never noticed her eyes, I've morphed her picture with that useless loser and never noticed her eyes! Really weird.' Me, Adi the ladykiller! Their Professor walked in with a load of books in his arms. Adi looked at Dhruv who was laughing at something Rajveer was whispering to him from the seat ahead. "Oh Lord! Look at the load that he's carried in," Adi said in a low voice to Dhruv and Rajveer. "He's probably going to load us with assignments," mourned Rajveer, who hated doing any kind of home work. "Silence everybody," Professor Shukla boomed in his extra loud voice and Adi cringed, Why did he have to yell everything. Even on the last bench, it was like a microphone going off tonelessly in his ear He looked at Dhruv's face mirroring his thoughts and grinned, shook his head slightly and turned his attention to the Professor who had started droning loudly about some convoluted precedent on contract law.
During lunch time....
Adi knocked on Janki Devi's outer chamber door and peered in. Maithili saw him and stood up, smiling, as he sauntered in, his hands in his pockets. "So," he asked her, what's up? Is it about that lo…I mean Pranay?" Maithili went slightly pink and whispered, "Adi, uh.hh do you mind if we speak somewhere else?" She turned to look at Janki Devi's closed door, "Ma'am is in there and I would prefer to have this conversation elsewhere." Adi smiled inwardly, 'So it's about that worthless bugger Pranay,' he thought, "Okay," he said aloud, "so join me for lunch and we can discuss this." Maithili nodded, "I've carried my lunch, so let me just get it." She removed a lunch box from her bag and walked out with him. They walked to the canteen in a companiable silence, Maithili found a place for them to sit as Adi ordered his lunch. "So," said Adi, "tell me, do you want my assistance, is that it?" as he sat down with his lunch tray. "Yes," Maithili replied shyly, her cheeks still very pink, "actually, ever since you mentioned it, I have been thinking about asking you whether you really meant what you said, whether you could really help me." Her face became serious suddenly, "I don't know why I am asking you to help me, it's so silly, isn't it, but I can't help myself, I just don't think I can ever tell Pranay how I feel, I feel awfully scared about the rejection that right now, I feel sure I'll face. She looked at him earnestly, "I know Pranay doesn't love me right now but I know he cares for me as a friend, but he, I think he….he is in love with Mallishka (her voice wavered slightly) I'd be a fool not to acknowledge that." Adi nodded encouragingly and she continued "But Adi, I've noticed that she does not care for him very much, she's always speaking rudely to him, always keeping him on tenterhooks and somehow, I don't think she reciprocates his feelings. I know I sound pathetic right now but I've thought about this so much, your words to me have given me some hope, at least I want to try, I care for Pranay very very much and if you can help me in any way, as you said, please let me know."
Adi propped his elbows on the table and looked at her, an amused smile on his face. "You know Maithili, I cannot believe anyone can have such strong feelings for Pranay, honestly! I mean, you know I cannot stand him, but I told you I'll help you and Vikram Aditya Mehra always keeps his word," he told her airily. "I'll think of something and let you know." He pondered a bit and smiled at her, "In fact, I have just thought of something," he told her superiorly, "As you know, Mallishka is also my friend and therefore I get to see her quite a bit. What's more, I think she has a sort of soft corner for me," he grinned at her appealingly, a what-to-do-I-am-so-hot! look on his face and continued "and I can try to get her to go around with me a bit to bug Pranay or something. Howzzat?" He grinned. That'll get his goat for sure, Mr. Useless! Maithili stared at him quietly. "And don't worry, I won't tell her about this, so your secret is safe with me," he finished off smugly, feeling very satisfied with himself. All in a day's work!
"But Adi," said Maithili in a small voice, "you don't really like Mallishka, do you?" He shook his head instantly, very surprised by her question. What sort of weird track is this? "Then Adi, won't it be wrong to play with someone's feelings like that. What if Mallishka takes you seriously?" Oh! for heaven's sake! Adi was aware of a niggling sense of irritation, this was the problem with bloody goody goody girls like Maithili, you tried to help them and they instantly started preaching all sorts of rubbish to you. "Maithili," he said a bit sharply, "do you want to get Pranay or not. Because, if not, then..." he broke off seeing Maithili suddenly stare at something behind him, her face reflecting her surprise. He turned his neck to see what had caused her sudden distraction when he saw that idiot Pranay walking towards them. "Oh god!," he muttered, as he turned to face Maithili, "there's no escaping this idiot, why must I have to speak of him and see him at the same time." He rolled his eyes dramatically and turned his attention to his food.
"Maithili," said Pranay sharply, as he strode towards their table, "Maithili, what do you think you are doing with this jerk?" He looked closely at their table, "Maithili," he exclaimed horrified, "Have you gone insane? Why are you having lunch with this guy, don't you know he's up to no good?" "Oh! hi Pranay, how nice to see you here too," Adi smiled at him cheekily, his voice filled with sarcasm, "you just made our day." Pranay glared daggers at Adi and turned to Maithili, "Have you gone insane?" he repeated angrily. "Getting a little repetitive, aren't you, old chap?" drawled Adi, "Why don't you try asking her another question?" "You shut up," Pranay growled in his direction, "Stay out of this" Before Adi could retort, Maithili looked up at Pranay, her smile nervous, "Pranay, I'm just having lunch with Adi, why don't you join us?" she said tentatively. Yes, please, I second that! looks like he'll burst an aneurysm right here, right now, cheered Adi silently. "And since, we're nearly done, you may eat alone," Adi couldn't resist telling him smugly and laughed as he saw Pranay clench his fists. Like taking food from a baby's fingers. Boy, it's so easy to wind this one up, the useless fool! Adi ignored the sizzling glare Pranay threw in his direction and pretended to focus on his food. Why pay and watch a movie when so much drama is free!
He peered at them to see Pranay looking at Maithili like he thought she had lost all her wits, "Listen Maithili, I came here to tell you something, you and Pragati di actually, so can you just come with me," Pranay said angrily. "Right now," he added forcefully, his face furious. He sounded like he was going to loose it right there and then and so Adi laughed and stood up, "Oh! Go on Maithili or he might just collapse from all this excitement. Some losers have decided to read his worthless book and so he's on the verge of wetting his pants, sissy boy."
Pranay lunged forward quickly and caught Adi's arm, his face was deep red and he was breathing very quickly, "Vikram Aditya Mehra, you are an utter bas***d." Adi pulled Pranay's hand off his arm and looked at him coldly, Cool it Adi, this worthless bugger is not worth your losing your temper over! "I assure you my parents were married when they had me Loser," he bit out smoothly, but hey, at least I have a family that adores me. About you, I don't recall seeing your father at your book launch, doesn't think too much of you, does he?" he taunted. He had struck a nerve, Adi realized triumphantly, as Pranay's face turned a sickly white. He looks pink now,Adi thought merrily, first lobster red followed by a dollop of sickly white. Picture Perfect Pranay in Pale Pink! Ha Ha! That'll teach you, loser!
As Pranay opened his mouth to retaliate, Maithili quickly stepped in between them, "Stop this right now," she told them angrily, "both of you just grow up. Pranay, you'll get into trouble if you get into a fight with Adi in college and you know that. Adi, you are lucky to have a loving family but it's cruel to taunt the lesser fortunate. Here we go again. The saintly halo appears on Ms. Goody Goody! Anyway, I'm leaving, thanks for all your help Adi. Pranay, if you want to speak with me, you can come with me to my office." She picked up her things and walked away. Adi looked at Pranay mockingly and turned and strode off in the opposite direction. Pranay hurried after Maithili.
"Maithili, I did not expect this from you," said Pranay angrily, as he moved alongside her. "Have you forgotten the vile things that he has done, have you…" "Pranay," interrupted Maithili calmly, "forget Adi for the moment, why have you come to college today, what's the matter?" Pranay looked as if he wanted to continue the tirade against Adi but then thought better of it and asked sulkily, "Where is Pragatidi?" Pragati's gone for a seminar today, she won't be back to college today, try calling her after 5:00 in the evening. Now, Pranay, tell me what's the matter."
Pranay told her all about Mallishka's call, the offer for the next book, his face shining with happiness. Maithili smiled back at him, thrilled for him, "Pranay, that's such wonderful news, congratulations, I'm so happy for you, and remember, such good news requires a party." Pranay grinned, his anger seemingly forgotten in his excitement, "Of course, Maithili, I will take Pragatidi and you out for dinner. But I am going to be very busy the next two weeks with Mallishka for the various book events. Oh! Maithili, I can't tell you how happy I am, Mallishka is so good to me, she is taking care of everything for me. 'Don't worry about anything Pranay,' she told me, I will take care of all details, you only focus on your new book.' Isn't she great Maithili, I think she is the best thing that ever happened to me." he finished enthusiastically. Maithili looked at him, her heart suddenly heavy, as she reluctantly absorbed his utter fascination for Mallishka.
She realized he was looking at her expectantly and smiled brightly at him. "That's wonderful Pranay," she said "all my best wishes are with you always, I'm sure every book you write will be a success." Pranay beamed, "Thanks Maithili, thanks for your support. I'll call Pragatidi later. Now, I am going off to meet Mallishka, she wants to go over some details with me, Bye Maithili." He walked off, a spring in his step and Maithili stood silently for a moment watching him walk away from her. "Oh Pranay," she whispered sadly, "can you not speak just once with me without mentioning Mallishka." She walked back to her office slowly, her heart torn between the happiness she felt at Pranay's achievement and the distress she felt at Pranay's endless fascination for Mallishka.
That's it for Chapter Two. Please let me know your comments.
Edited by queenpersephone - 11 May 2007 at 4:41am