Viren leaned his head back against the tree and closed his eyes, trying to calm his breathing as Nivi read through his application form. He opened his eyes and turned his head a little to look at her. She was reading with so much concentration, suddenly he remembered her watering those flowers when he'd first gone over to find out who she was; she gave equal concentration to everything she did and he added that to the list of things he loved about her. He sighed and closed his eyes again, wondering why it was so easy to love her and what he was going to do about it when he heard Nivi say, 'There's nothing wrong with this Viren, it's really good! You haven't even got any spelling mistakes!'
He kept his eyes closed and smiled at her slightly accusing tone, he knew there was nothing wrong with it; he'd just needed an excuse to see her. He opened his eyes and looked at her innocently and shrugged, 'I thought there might be some mistakes Nivi...' Nivi blinked and seemed to believe him as she gave it back saying he could hand it in like that and probably expect an interview soon.
As he took the papers, Nivi picked up her file and said, 'Do you mind if I draw for a bit? The light is perfect and I have to design some art pieces for a client as my first assignment.' He said it was fine and then watched as she unzipped the file and took out a pencil and a sketchpad. He watched her draw for a while and ran his fingers along the grass next to him as he thought how peaceful it felt just to sit with her; he didn't have this peace when he was alone anymore.
He suddenly remembered Siddarth and wondered what it'd be like, marrying without love; he'd never really thought about it before either way but now he felt a little bad for his brother, even if Nivi never loved him back, he couldn't imagine not loving her and Sid might never have that. As he thought about it he said, 'Nivi, there was something I wanted to get your opinion on actually,' Nivi didn't look up as she asked what it was and he took a moment to think before he spoke.
When Viren didn't reply, Nivi looked up from the drawing she was making of leaves catching the sunlight and saw he was looking down, deep in thought and playing with some flowers that were growing on the ground next to him. He seemed lost somewhere and she couldn't help herself from abandoning the picture she was working on and starting a new one.
Viren looked lost in thought as she drew him quickly; there was a bit of sun in his hair and his usual stubble was lighter and as he looked down, she thought he looked younger. She finished her sketch and looked down at the Viren in her picture and was wondering what he was thinking when suddenly the real Viren snatched her sketchpad off her lap. He'd moved to sit opposite her with his legs crossed and he looked annoyed.
'Nivedita! I was talking to you but you were miles away...' Viren's voice faded and his eyes widened as he glanced at the sketchpad in his hand. 'Did you just draw this?! It's...' He looked down at the picture of himself and was stunned by her talent again. He looked lost in his own world and it was a little unnerving how perfectly she'd caught his mood.
Nivi looked embarrassed as she took it back and said 'Sorry I didn't ask before I drew it Viren, woh main...' she shrugged. 'Actually I have no excuse!' She smiled guiltily at him and Viren started laughing. 'It's ok Nivi, it's only me, you don't need to ask...' He would happily sit in front of her for hours if she wanted, he thought. Nivi seemed relieved and took back her book and looked at the picture for a while before turning to a new page and asking what it was he'd said and she hadn't heard.
'The family are thinking of getting Siddarth married...' Viren watched as Nivi's pencil stopped moving and she looked off into the distance for a few seconds suddenly. He frowned and lost his train of thought, wondering why she had such a worried look on her face till she looked at him and said, 'I suppose it's to be expected Viren...have they found someone yet?' She said the words lightly but she still looked worried and Viren felt his own forehead crease as he tried to figure out why.
'I don't think so...' Viren was still thinking about Nivi's reaction as he told her how Sid didn't seem to mind but he felt worried for some reason and Nivi sighed and finally carried on drawing as she said, 'Not everyone marries for love Viren, some people are happy with whoever their parents choose for them...sometimes love comes later.' Viren was still sitting cross legged in front of Nivi and now he rested his chin on his hands and thought about her words as he asked quietly, 'Would you be happy if it was you Nivi?' He watched as Nivi's pencil stopped again and she looked up at him, looking a little shocked and he wondered if he shouldn't have asked but he hadn't been able to stop himself.
Nivi looked away from Viren quickly and suddenly she realised how much the thought scared her. 'I...I don't know Viren...I never really thought about it before...' She wasn't being completely honest; she'd always known she'd marry someone of her father and Dadi's choosing, she'd never thought anything else and had faith that whoever their choice was would be right for her but now she was scared to find that she didn't feel the same way anymore... The thought of marrying a complete stranger made her feel ill and panicky. She shook her head and looked up at Viren, 'I thought we were talking about Sid?!'
Viren tried to read the emotions moving across Nivi's face but was jolted out of his thoughts by her question, 'Umm, yep we were...I guess I just got carried away sorry.' Nivi still looked a little shaken but she was calmer as she carried on drawing again and said thoughtfully, 'If you think Sid will be unhappy with your family's choice, maybe you should find him someone yourself...' Viren was confused by Nivi's travel of thought but she carried on, not looking at him, 'He's your brother, you know him better than anyone right?' Viren was still confused, 'Yeah...but how will that help? And anyway, I don't really know any girls Nivi...'
Nivi looked up at Viren and he realised what he'd said, 'I meant I don't know any actual girls who could...' He was making it worse and Nivi raised an eyebrow. 'I mean, obviously you're a girl Nivi, but...you don't count in this situation about Siddarth right?!' He felt panicked all of a sudden, he remembered her reaction when he'd told her about Sid; why was she acting like that...was she trying to tell him something?! It was scaring him; he had a sudden crazy thought that if Nivi loved Sid, he'd have to leave the country because he couldn't bear it and he tried hard not to let the panic show on his face. She was still looking at him and hadn't said anything so he gave up trying to pretend he didn't care and burst out, 'Nivi, tum kuch bol thi kyu nahi...were you talking about yourself?!'