One more. Just one more and then she would be done. Prerna Sharma was at the Basu mansion, going through what seemed like a million reports on her laptop to check for any drafting errors, a work her dear Kaku Babu, her Sir now, had put her to. The work took up almost all of her day and she ended up having no lunch, something she cautiously avoided telling her Kaka Babu when he called to check up on her. It was nearing five in the evening and every muscle in Prerna's body begged her to just collapse into a couch and put an end to the day's work. Her shoulder's ached with all the typing that she had been doing. But there was one last report that she had to go through before she could do that. Do it, Prerna Sharma, its just one more, she cajoled herself as she straightened up and pushed up the glasses that were precariously perched on her nose.
Doing this work was absolutely essential to her. Kaka Babu had so trustingly employed her to do this work and she made every single effort to live upto the trust he had in her. But that wasn't the only thing. She worked so hard so she could pay the lawyer. The lawyer that she hired to fight Shivani's case in the court.
Ishaan Khanna was a very renowned advocate and absolutely deserving of the name he had. It was when Prerna was clutching every last strand to find a good lawyer for Shivani that she ran into Ishaan. Luck favoured her and Ishaan immediately got on board to help her. She discovered later that Ishaan was her schoolmate through classes 4th to 8th and was delighted to have met him after so long.
Ishaan was an observant and placid person. He hardly ever got anxious or excited nor emotional when working. Prerna could see that he was a great lawyer and felt positive they would make a good case. When he wasn't working though, Ishaan was very good company. He was humourous, lively and very easy going. Prerna was relived she found Ishaan. Or her life would have been a complete mess, courtesy a certain Mr. Anurag Basu.
Having had taken up the work of Moloy Basu's Personal Secretary, it was quite inevitable that she would run into Anurag Basu quite often. And that meant, she would be subjecting her poor heart to continuous disappointment and ache. She had pretty solid feelings for Anurag which she was sure were not ephemeral. Anurag on the other hand was back with his ex-girlfriend, whom he seemed to actually like.
To keep her sanity intact, Prerna indulged herself in work. She arrived early in the morning went straight to the study, worked till night and went back home. She made a conscious effort to not run into anybody except Kaka Babu. She wanted to avoid Anurag for obvious reasons. Well as for Nivedita and Mohini, nobody in their right minds would WANT to run into them.
Prerna missed Anurag. Big time. She was one of her best friends and she missed having him around. They talked though. But very few times. The few times he was home. Prerna ensured the conversations didn't go beyond general exchanges. And as soon as she started to feel Anurag would venture into the topic of her avoiding him, she would make up some excuse and get back to work.
What with the first hearing of the case nearing, Prerna also had to pay Ishaan a lot of visits along with Shivani. All in all, her days were very demanding.
Prerna was immersed in all kinds of thoughts, when her reverie was broken by her phone ringing.
Anurag was passing by the study when he decided he could allow himself one peek at Prerna. And maybe have a conversation even if she wasn't caught up with work. Because all his best friend Prerna Sharma did these days was work. She hardly got any time to talk to him. It bothered him to no lengths. Sure, he would love her to succeed in her life and be the best at her work, but he didn't imagine that it would mean him and her spending such less time with each other
And not just that.
The few times that Anurag did manage to catch Prerna free, she seemed aloof and distant. She talked very little. Only about work and Shivani's case.
And when she spoke about Shivani's case, she mentioned Ishaan Khanna. A few million times. Or so it seemed to him.
Anurag hated him.
For no apparent reason.
Anurag was hardly the kind of person who would hate somebody without even knowing anything about them. Ishaan Khanna seemed to be an exception.
He was about to find Prerna a good lawyer when one fine day she just dropped by to inform him that she had already found one.
He was happy for her.
Not for himself.
All Prerna did when she talked to him was speak about Ishaan. Of how focused he is, how intelligent, how genuine and empathetic and on and on. It irked Anurag so much.
Okay fine. It made him jealous.
Prerna was HIS best friend. He wanted her to be with him. Spend time with him.
Okay, he was being very stupid. She only spent time with 'the guy he won't talk about' for Shivani's case. Had things been different he wouldn't have bothered.
But things were bad. So bad. Prerna avoided him like plague. Consciously. And she was so distant. He knew not why. And add to this already plumetting friendship of theirs 'the other guy', he felt pretty gloomy.
He stopped by the study. He decided he would knock and get in when the door opened and out came Prerna Sharma.
The movement was quite obviously unanticipated on either's part, effect being that Prerna collided into Anurag.
And fell down. Splendidly on her bum.
"Ow," she whined, rubbing her aching bum.
Prerna threw Anurag her filthiest glare, because he was laughing clutching his stomach. She rolled her eyes at his exaggerated laughing.
He extented her a hand which she ignored and got up as gracefully as the situation allowed her to.
Anurag put an end to his ridiculously prolonged laughter after Prerna gave him a scathing look.
He looked at her flushed face, her eyebrows furrowed in concentration as she tried to smoothen her crumpled Kurti. It was when a few loose stands fell out of the messy bun of her hair that he realised she looks so much more beautiful when her hair was down.
Prerna looked up at Anurag to see him staring at her observantly. Her feeble heart, so full of mushy feelings, gave a jolt.
He slowly and with deliberation took a step forward. He raised his hand to the back of her head and removed the clutch that was securing her hair.
Prerna's heart thudded so loud, she was scared he would hear her.
"Tum khule baalon mein bahaut achi lagte ho," he said, his voice sounding strained. It did strange things to her senses.
Anurag didn't drop his hand though. He let her hair sift through his fingers repeatedly, his motions on autopilot, his eyes staring at her raptly, as Prerna stood frozen, her mouth open, her senses haywire.
"Kaha jaa rahi thi?" He asked her, now proceeding to tuck her hair behind her ears, his finger tips grazing the tips.
"Huh?" Prerna muttered, intelligently.
"Kaam se fursat lekar jaa kaha rahi ho?" Anurag asked.
That was when Prerna snapped out of her daze and moved away as if electrified.
"I was actually going down to ask Kaka Babu if it was okay for Ishaan to come meet me here. He wants to discuss something."
Ishaan it was then, that made her stop her work.
Anurag looked like Diwali was cancelled.
He nodded his head gravely his face assuming an utterly unpleasant expression.
"He is coming here then?"
A pregnant pause.
"You want to come down and help as well?" Prerna said, before she could hold her tongue. This was the affect of being around Anurag. The more she talked to him, the more she felt like having him around.
Before she could make an excuse on his behalf, Anurag nodded enthusiastically.
"I would love to!" He said, smiling at her radiantly.
Prerna smiled back meekly, weighing the consequences of her stupidity. Probably spending a lot of good time now and then going home and crying buckets, she thought miserably.
They went down.
Anurag was a man of his words. And true to his nature, he kept his word and still hated Ishaan. Nothing changed after he met him.
Anurag found Ishaan way too perfect for his liking. He was good humoured, easy to speak to and was amazing at his what he did, Anurag admitted grudgingly.
How can someone be so irritatingly perfect, Anurag fussed, even as he sulked. Prerna was now laughing at some joke Mr.Perect had cracked. Perfect.
God, he sounded nuts.
"Don't you ever worry, Prerna, I have got your back," Ishaan promised her, giving her hand a little squeeze.
"You should always keep smiling," he appealed to her sincerely.
"You look beautiful when you smile!"
Wait. Why the hell was he flirting with her now?
Anurag shuffled impatiently in his chair, racking his brains for a change of topic.
Prerna smiled politely and nodded at Ishaan.
"Have you eaten anything?" Ishaan inquired.
The nerve of him! Did he think they didn't serve food at his home or what?
"No," Prerna admitted in a small voice.
Anurag whipped his head around to look at her mortified.
"Why?" He demanded, his voice giving away his hurt.
"I was so caught up in work I didnt have time to," Prerna said, apologetically.
Anurag was about to give her a big sermon for not having lunched when Ishaan beat him to it.
Ishaan then suggested they went out to eat something because he was feeling hungry as well. And invited Anurag along.
"I will come," Anurag said, giving 'the other guy' a stiff smile.
He brought his car out to drive them to the nearest restaurant. Prerna was making her way to the front seat when Mr.Perfect came out of nowhere and slipped into the seat.
This guy was the limit! Anurag gave his hand break such a hard tug, he was surprised it didn't break and come apart into hsi hand.
Ishaan talked non stop all the way to the restaurant profusely complimenting Prerna for even the most mundane things. The guy was clearly smitten by her. And Anurag didn't like it one bit.
At the restaurant, before Mr.Perfect could come up with anymore stunts, Anurag sidled after Prerna next to her seat, leaving Ishaan no choice but to sit in the opposite chair.
Their food arrived and they started eating. If Anurag hadn't been so irritated by the presence of 'the undesired', he would have noticed how Prerna became all dazed and confused each time his elbow touched her while eating. Anurag sat so close it was hard to make any movement without touching him.
It was when Prerna finally took notice of what was in her plate, that she noticed a strand of hair in her rice.
"Ew," she said, wrinkling her nose.
"Go get the dish changed," Ishaan suggested which obviously welcomed a disgruntled look from Anurag.
Prerna left to get her dish exchanged and also give the concerned people an earful.
"Of course," Anurag said, giving Ishaan a cold glare.
"How long have you known her for?"
"Quite long! We have been friends since childhood." Anurag said, smiling indulgently.
"That's strange. I have been in Prerna's grade for four years, she never mentioned you."
Anurag gritted his teeth so hard, it was a wonder they didn't break.
"Prerna likes to keep her private life private. She has been like that since forever," Anurag explained, distate writ all our his face.
"Oh," Ishaan subsided.
"Sorry if it seems intruding, but are you guys, close?" Ishaan asked hesitantly.
"Pretty close. Yes."
"As in- are you?"
"Yes, I am Prerna's boyfriend," Anurag said, with a slight pride emanating in his voice.
Oh god. He said it.
The look on Ishaan's face was priceless.
Anurag smirked contently at Ishaan's heart shattering expression.
He never felt so elated doing a wrong thing.
He had no idea why he did what he did. But he hated the idea of Prerna being romantically involved with Ishaan. Now he came to think of it, he didn't like the idea her being romantically involved with anyone at all.
Shit. This was crazy. He can't decide for her. What if she actually liked Ishaan?
The very though gripped his senses in fear.
No. No. No. It can't be. It didn't seem like she did. But he still had no right to do what he did.
There would be consequences. Bad ones. Prerna would yell at him. Guaranteed. But he would put up with all of that later.
But right now, he was feeling so happy.
Now he looked like Christmas arrived early. He couldn't stop grinning and passing Ishaan all dishes, insisting he ate more.
When Prerna returned, he gave her a breath taking smile and even served her some of his Roti with his own hands.
When it was time to go back, Ishaan calmly slipped into the back seat. Prerna slid into the front, looking utterly confused.
They two men behaved the exact opposite way the did in the morning.
Ishaan was sulky and Anurag cheery.
Anurag dropped Ishaan off and offered him a big smile.
He stopped his car infront of Prerna's house, humming to himself.
"Why are you so happy?" Prerna asked dubiously.
"You will find out soon and maybe I won't be as happy after that." Anurag admitted.
Prerna who couldn't make head or tail of this cryptic remark bid him goodbye and stepped out of the car.
She was about to get into her house when she felt a tap on her back.
She turned around to see Anurag grinning at her.
Before she could process anything, he gently, pulled her head towards his face and placed a soft kiss on her forehead.
"Sorry, okay?" He said still grinning. "I dunno why I did what I did. But I also don't think I regret it."
Saying so he sped off in his car, leaving Prerna behind utterly bewildered and totally dazed. Anurag Basu would be the death of her one day.
I hope you guys would like it! I just avoided Mishka from this.