Chapter three- Loving you was easy, the aftermath, not so much...
4th August 2018
Avilasha held the card tightly. It had been two days since she had last met Jasleen and her words were playing in her mind.
Now as she walked towards her boutique, she was still trying figure out whether it was a good idea.
Avilasha could feel the AC hitting her face as she entered the shop. She looked around to find dresses and sarees. The designs looked new and quite interesting. Not finding Jasleen around, Avilasha decided to go through the clothes and just get out from there as soon as possible.
Just as she was looking through, Jasleen entered the shop and started instructing the sales girls. As her eyes locked with Avilasha's, her lips broke into a smile.
"I didn't think you would come." Jasleen greeted Avilasha as the latter gave a small smile.
"Neither did I. But isn't life expecting the unexpected." Avilasha commented.
"Deep." Jasleen said keeping a hand on her chest making Avilasha laugh. "So how can I help you? Or more precisely how do you want me to help you."
"I was just looking around. I like your designs."
"I am flattered but I was not talking about shopping but the reason why you are here. I know you are here for help. So how can i help you?"
"I am not sure.." Avilasha trailed off.
"How about a cup of coffee?" Jasleen read her hesitation.
"I was twelve." Jasleen said as they sat down for a cup coffee.
Avilasha raised her eye brows probing her to continue.
"I was twelve when I first realised that I was attracted to girls. We used to live in Pune, we were close to the family who lived near us. They had two children, Yug and Jigisa. I used to play with them all the time. One day Yug kissed me in the cheeks and told me he liked me. He said he would marry me one day and we would live happily ever after. But I was not happy with the idea. In fact the idea suffocated me. I remember crying all night and Jigisa stayed up cheering me up. At that moment I realised I wouldn't mind spending my life with her. Thats when I first found out, I just didn't understand it then." She shared.
Avilasha nodded her head. "When did you..."Avilasha tried to find the right words. "When did you accept yourself as.."
"As I was? It was after my parents divorce. I shifted to Cananda with my mother. One day she saw me close to another girl. It took some days for my mother for the information to sink in and when it did she came to me and hugged me. She told me she was happy as long as I was. She told me it didn't matter if I liked a girl or a boy but, I should love the right person. She spent 15 years with my father and they were in a unhappy marriage all along. The day she accepted me was the day I truly accepted myself as I was." Jasleen told her.
Avilasha played with her spoon as her thoughts moved towards her parents. Would they ever accept her? No they never would.
"My parents... they would never accept me. They would never accept the idea of a girl loving another girl."
"Whats more important? Your happiness or your parents acceptance?" Jasleen questioned.
"My happiness lies in my parents acceptance."
"Thats where you have gone wrong. Aren't you married as per parents wish? Haven't they accepted you and your husband. So are you happy now?" Jasleen asked to which Avilasha just dropped her head.
Was she happy?
"Sometimes we can't be happy just cause someone else is happy. Sometimes it is good to be selfish for your happiness." Jasleen explained and continued on, "how can you expect someone to accept you when you yourself wouldn't accept yourself? When you are unhappy with yourself can you expect to make others happy?"
"Think about it Avilasha."
Avilasha looked at the rain pouring down the windows as she thought about Jasleen's words.
Was it fine to act selfish at times just for her happiness?
As the wind blew through Avilasha raised her hands to open up her tied hair.
Don't leave your hair untied, it looks ugly. Keep it tied all the time.
She hesitated remembering her mother's words.
A smile graced Avilasha's face as she let her hair open. It was small act for anyone else but for Avilasha it was a step. She was not just unting her hair but was setting herself free from the chains of her parents demands and expectations.
It was the first step towards herself, the first step of rebellion.
Simriddhi stared at the man before her. He wasn't the same guy she came to meet. This one was thinner, he had lost his carefree look and it seemed as if it had been days since he had rested well.
"What has happened to you Rayan? You look like shit!" Rayan flinched a little at her blunt comment.
"Don't beat around the bush Simmi! Tell me why are you here?" He asked ignoring her statement.
"I am here to smack some sense to your head and drag your pretty arse back home." She replied as she shook her head. She was so angry with him. But looking at his diseveled state all she wanted to do was hug him tight.
"None of those is happening." Rayan made it clear before asking, "Rehan sent you here, didn't he?"
"No. He doesn't know that I know where you are. I promised you I wouldn't tell him and now its killing me. I can not lie to Rehan anymore, he doesn't deserves this."
"If you have come here as Rehan's advocate then please go back." Rayan complained. "Everyone is in his side. Rehan is the good person, I am the evil one."
"I never said that!" Simiriddhi defended herself. "I just want you two to clear this misunderstanding. And thats not going to happen if you keep running away!"
"Whats more to clear? He took my financee and my share of property away."
"He married your finance whom you left in the alter to suffer the consequences and he got back your properties and shares which you idiot kept as montage to Avilasha's parents without even realising." Simriddhi cleared it. "You were so happy living your dream that you ignored the bloody contract Avilasha's parents made you sign!"
"I don't care about the contract."
"Why would you when its Rehan who is suffering the consequences!" Simridhhi snapped.
"What is he suffering. He has rich wonderful life with his wife!" Rayan said, "oh look it rhymes too!"
"Why did you leave on the wedding day?" Simriddi asked ignoring his stupid jokes.
The question was eating her alive. Why did Rayan leave Avilasha on their wedding day? He loved her a lot and Simriddhi knew that. He had always loved her. While growing up Simriddhi had crush on Rayan but he was too engrossed in Avilasha to notice it. Little Rayan's world revolved around Avilasha. Avilasha this, Avilasha that. When Avilasha started giving more attention Rehan, he started annoying her, teasing her anything he could to drive her attention towards him. When Avilasha started becoming oblivious towards his feelings, he started dating different girls to make her jealous. It didn't work thou. Finally when their parents suggested their marriage as a part of their buisiness collaboration, he had been overjoyed. No one was as happy as Rayan on their wedding but at the final moment, he left her and Rehan had to marry her instead.
"One of us was not happy with the wedding." Rayan reasoned.
"But you wanted that from a long time! Why weren't you happy?"
"I never said it was me." Rayan gave a small smile. "She didn't want to marry me."
"You called me?" Rayan asked out to Avilasha who was sitting in the grass staring at the sky. She didn't look back at him, just patted the space near her asking him to sit.
"So whats up Avu? Can't wait for even a day?" Rayan teased her before realising she was not in a good mood.
"What happened Avu? Is everything fine? Did you mother say something again?" Rayan shot questions worried at her state. It was a day before their marriage, she shouldn't be out here worrying.
Avilasha just shook her head in a no to his questions and started talking in a small voice.
"I need to tell you something Rayan. I probably should have said this earlier but I just couldn't bring myself to."
Rayan didn't interrupt just listened carefully,
"I don't think I can marry you." Avilasha spit out with a lot of effort. "No please let me continue. Its not just you, I don't want to marry anyone. Not any man alive."
She faced towards him, his face full of confusion, "Rayan, what I am sharing with you is not just a piece of a secret but a piece of my identity. "
"Rayan... Rayan I.. I like girls not guys."
Rayan laughed out at her confession but as he saw her horrified expression he realised she was not joking.
"This is not right Rayan. This wedding is not right. I don't think I can do this. Please Rayan.."
Rayan got up suddenly trying to process what he heard.
He walked around back and fourth and Avilasha just stared him.
"Why?" He asked softly. Avilasha couldn't reply as he kept asking why.
"Why? W-H-Y?" He shouted out his voice erupting.
Avilasha shook her head, tears falling down like a cascade of rain.
He left her there, to herself and the bitter truth that was eating her up.
"I tried to process it all night and the first thing I did in the morning was run away like a coward. I thought that would solve the problem." Rayan shared the truth.
"But it didn't."
"Yes cause my stupid brother had to do what he always does. Clean my mess."
"Lets go." Rayan said before getting up.
"To make amends. Its high time I did something right. Enough of hide seek."
Rehan's eyes followed the couple as they walked happily unknown of the fact that his eyes were following them around.
Shahida laughed as Farhan cracked a joke. She softly hit him in his arms and he just side hugged in her in response.
Rehan's blood boiled at the sight. Next thing he knew was the man was placing a kiss on her head as Shahida tried to get away from his grip.
All Rehan saw was red. Blinded by anger, he saw red figures in front him and then he saw red blood in his hands as he started punching the life out of the man who dared to touch his love.
Shahida shrieked when someone suddenly pulled her away from Ifran and beat him to death. She quickly recovered herself and pulled Rehan away from Farhan as the latter lay on the ground with a bloodied face.
"Stop it Rehan! Stop!" Rehan stopped fidgeting in her arms and looked down her. He cupped her face slowly, just then Shahida's eyes fell on his hurt knuckles.
"What the hell were you doing Rehan?" She pulled away from his grip.
"Why did he touch you?"
"Why do you care? You have nothing to do here! Stop interfering in my life. We are not together anymore Rehan! I am not answerable to your questions."
Rehan tried to stop her as she ignored him and took injured Farhan away never hearing him.