'Kya hua Nivi? You know you can tell me anything right?' Nivi hadn't wanted to say the words out loud to start with and now she felt even worse as Viren took her hand and she saw the concern in his eyes. He'd brought her to the roof again and she looked around, remembering the last time they'd been here; it was another clear night and she wished things were as easy as they'd seemed then. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath and told him how Dadi had told her yesterday morning that they'd had a really good marriage proposal for her and wanted to know how Nivi felt about it.
Viren frowned a little but he took her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze, 'Ok... toh phir tumne kya kaha?' Nivi sighed and closed her eyes again; she'd told Dadi she wasn't sure about marriage right now because she wanted to focus on her work and on helping Keshav with the house and with Yash's college. It wasn't a total lie because she did want to help with those things but she'd felt bad hiding something so important from Dadi.
Viren pulled Nivi into his arms as she spoke and rested his head on her shoulder; he knew it upset her to lie to Dadi and he felt bad too but he also felt relieved she'd said no, 'It won't be for much longer Nivi, just till the wedding is over.' He felt Nivi hug him back tightly before she pulled away and shook her head and Viren saw there were tears in her eyes, 'That's not it Viren, that might not even be an option anymore...'
Viren felt his heart sink as Nivi told him in a shaky voice how Keshav had spoken to her later and had told her the proposal was from some important business partner and it would look badly on him if they didn't even meet with the family; she'd felt so guilty as he'd explained how close he was to another promotion and that he couldn't afford to make any mistakes.
'But that's not fair on you Nivi!' Viren shook his head angrily; he couldn't believe her father was pressuring her, knowing she would feel guilty and agree to meet them even though she didn't want to. Suddenly his eyes widened as he realised what Nivi was trying to tell him, 'Wait, what did you say?!' Nivi didn't need to reply, Viren saw it in her eyes and in the tears on her cheeks. 'But Nivi...' His voice faded away and he didn't know what to say; it felt like in just a few minutes his whole world had turned upside down and now he almost couldn't breathe at the thought of losing Nivi.
'I couldn't say no Viren...and I only have to meet them, maybe they won't even like me...' Nivi's shaky voice trailed off as Viren looked at her in disbelief and she felt the hopelessness and confusion she'd been feeling since yesterday take over again. She realised she was crying and she half-heartedly wiped some tears but there was no point because they were quickly replaced by more, 'I don't know what to do Viren... I don't know what's right...'
Viren took a deep breath and shook his head, trying to push away the panic as he stepped closer to her, putting his hands on her shoulders. He wiped her cheeks softly and tried to keep his voice steady, 'I'm sorry you had to go through that Nivi and you should have told me earlier but meeting with them will just make things harder, you know that right?' Nivi looked confused and Viren explained that if her father was already pressuring her now and she couldn't say no then what would they do later if he was happy with the match.
Nivi stepped away from Viren and turned to look out at the beautiful moonlit view without seeing any of it. She considered Viren's words and realised he was right. Everything had happened too fast for her to have told him but now that she had, it was clear; if she went ahead and gave her father false hope now then how could she crush those hopes later? 'I didn't think about it like that...I have to do something before its too late...' she just didn't know if she could; said the last part almost to herself and as she turned back to him she looked up in surprise when Viren held out his hand, 'We can do something about it right now Nivi, everyone's already downstairs...'
Nivi's eyes widened as she realised what Viren meant and without thinking she automatically shook her head and stepped back as she imagined Keshav's reaction if they went and announced their news right now. 'No Viren I can't, Papa...' She saw the hurt flash across Viren's face the instant said no and felt his pain in her own heart. The last thing she'd wanted to do was hurt him and now she had. She moved towards him but before she could explain he stepped back and shook his head, 'I don't understand Nivi, you can't have it both ways!'
'Viren,,,' Nivi tried to say that she just didn't want to rush into anything without thinking it through but Viren didn't let her finish, 'If we wait and do nothing, more people will just get hurt... including both our families! Either we see this through together and tell them soon or...' Viren's voice broke and he swallowed, 'Or you...' he turned away shaking his head, he couldn't even say it; the thought that Nivi might not choose him was too unbearable but it seemed as though Nivi didn't want to make a decision when they both knew that she had to and soon.
He felt Nivi's hand on his shoulder and tried to still his speeding heartbeat, 'I'm sorry Viren, I'm just worried about Papa... but we can speak to them all now if that's what you want...' Viren turned to look at her and saw she still looked nervous and uncertain which made up his mind; he took a deep breath, preparing to do something he hoped he didn't live to regret, 'Nahi Nivedita.'
Nivi blinked in surprise at Viren's tone; he didn't sound angry or upset like she would have expected, his voice was quiet and he sounded numb as he turned towards her. He shook his head and Nivi felt her heart twist at the sadness in his eyes, 'No Nivi, don't do it because of me, only do it because you want to...' Nivi felt Viren's words cut into her and she saw pain on his face as he brushed away her tears and spoke softly, 'I love you, but I don't ever want to force you into anything...bas apni dil ke sun na and I'll stand by whatever you decide ok? Just...don't take too long Moti.'
'Viren...' Nivi's voice broke as she tried to speak around her tears and Viren placed his fingers over her mouth, shaking his head again. He took her face in his hands and stared into her eyes, trying and failing not to drown in them. He brushed his lips over her forehead and then kissed her deeply, tasting both of their tears in the bittersweet kiss; he felt Nivi's hands gripping onto the neck of his kurta tightly and after a few long seconds he pulled away a little, covering her hands with his and resting his forehead on hers as he tried to steady his breathing.
'Now you don't owe me anything Nivi...' Viren's whisper was shaky but he somehow managed to move Nivi's hands from his collar and let go of them as he took a step back. Nivi could only stare at him feeling dazed and numb after his words and their kiss; she felt like her heart was breaking and she couldn't believe what was happening as Viren brushed his fingers across her cheek and gave her a long look before she watched him leave, feeling as though he was taking her all of her with him and she was just a shell standing there.
Viren would never know how he managed to walk away from her right then, even as his heart screamed at him to go back; he hoped he was doing the right thing by leaving the decision up to her but the further away he got from her, the more scared he got at the thought that he might lose her.
Edited by anjaani07 - 29 August 2011 at 11:28am