"okay, I told about Aarush to Kabir! That man freaked out I tell you."
"What? You told?" Geet shrieked from the other side, "I never knew you were this serious Ana!"
"I never knew we would come this far too Geet" she rolled on the bed, "but things just happened."
"Did you tell Maan about it?"
"Uhh No!!! Are you crazy? I mean I want to tell but only when Kabir is fine with it first. Its easier to handle him. Plus I cannot handle two over-protective brothers at the same time."
Geet giggled on the other side, "True. Maan is going to flip. Speaking of which, where is that man? I haven't spoken to him for a week now and now his phone isn't even reachable."
"He is out on a business trip. Didn't he tell you?"
Geet hit her head, "uff! Yeah how can I forget? He had told me he'd be traveling. But why is his phone unreachable?"
Ana shrugged, "He will call back. Don't worry. Now tell me what in going on there..."
An hour long call with Ana seemed to brighten her evening. But Maan remained at the back of her head. He was busy and she was nearing the end of her project too. They had tried catching up but with his work schedule and the time difference, it was getting hard. At times, she'd wait and wait for his call until she fell asleep and sometimes she complained that he wasn't talking to her. But that man... damn that man always had his ways with her. He'd say something and she'd let it go.
Some times I wonder Kanha, how did you manage long distance with your girlfriend? Its irritating...Oh well, you just went ahead and got married. Who am I even asking?
She opened her cupboard to take out her change of clothes and that's when she found her files and documents stacked away untidily. She sighed and recalled the morning when she was searching for a certain work related document. She had pulled out all of them and then stacked them away however she could.
"Arrgh Kill me please." She mumbled to herself and started sorting out her files and keeping them properly. And while arranging her files, she never realized she was cleaning the entire cupboard!!!
A thin folded paper gently slid down from between her fingers and fell on her feet. She sighed, put that last bit of the clothes on the rack and picked up the paper wondering where had it come in between her clothes. Swiping that strand of hair away from her eyes, she unfolded the paper and read what was inside.
"Good Morning Sleeping Beauty
By the time you get this note, I would have been gone. So, don't panic if you don't find me. I will be a call away. I had the most wonderful dinner last night and the most peaceful sleep ever.
Thanks for everything.
P.S. can we keep doing this from time to time?
For a long moment, she remained stunned with her discovery and then slowly, very slowly the moments decided to slip into her mind one after the other. They had been wary of each other for some reason and she couldn't even remember what the reason was. He had been out and he had come back straight to her apartment.
Seattle? Was he in Seattle?
She took a few steps back and sat on the bed, holding that paper and trembling in nostalgia.
"Get ready Geet..."
She kept looking at him with so much adoration that still didn't feel enough.
"Geet?" he called out to gain her attention.
"Yeah..." she snapped, "when did you come back?"
"Just landed 30 minutes back..."
She raised a brow, "You didn't go home?"
He yawned, "No. I came straight here..."
She held his hand and dragged him inside.
"Geet..." he sighed, "what are you doing?"
He looked up at her in amusement, "what?"
She rolled her eyes, "Since you are too tired from the journey, how about, I make you a nice dinner? My way of making up to you..."
Those images were just so vivid that she pressed the note to her heart and closed her eyes to relive those.
Oh where has the time gone?
It has been so long. Where have those days gone when they were in their reckless abandon... when was the last time she had seen Maan properly or had even talked to him like they used to? When was it the last time that they had just sat and talked like they used to back at Ellen's?
She re-read the letter and realized now what spanned between them. It was two months since she had been back to London and a week over since she had even talked to him properly. The distance that remained between them came to her view today. She saw what endured between them now and suddenly she felt she was too far from 'home'. She was in London that had been her home for a while now but she never realized when the definition of "home" had changed over time; when "he" had become the focal point of her life and she just didn't realize.
She quickly picked up her phone and called him.
Unreachable. Yet Again.
It was futile she knew but the more she thought of it, the harder it hit it. The deeper it sunk into her.
The distance that spanned between them.
Pooja and everyone else asked her if she was okay with her current equation with Maan in the current scenario and she had answered in affirmative because it hadn't hit her like this up until now.
When one memory hit, several others followed suit. Her memories weren't an exception either. And each memory that popped up, her brain interpreted those in a new light. What had he done for her!!! What had he done to her!!!
A drop of tear slipped from her eyes and fell on her lap as she looked at the letter one last time.
He had written it. He had always been hers.
Sad, she hadn't been his. She had been so focussed on proving her mettle in her new world that she had completely forgotten that it was because he was subtly there behind her that she was even standing on her own two feet today to face the world.
"Mine." She mumbled and kept the note back in the cupboard.
If only he had time to answer her calls, she'd tell him things that deserved to know about her heart.
"My phone was broken. Sorry Little Storm. Will call you back ASAP."
She sat in her office and re-read the text message a thousand times over. He had sent it an hour ago and she hadn't been at peace. She was desperate to talk to him and tell him so many things but that man was prolonging the agony.
Is this how being in love felt like?
She asked herself and looked at the trees outside. The more she thought of him, the more things became clearer to her and the more she wanted to drown in the love that arose in her heart. She had found herself spacing out countless number of times, thinking of scenarios and moments of then phone conversations, their meeting; if they met some time; how she'd hug him and how she'd scream out her love to him. It was funny though. That man did nothing. He just stood by her side and she just went ahead and fell in love with him.
She read the text message again and felt an overwhelming emotion fill her heart.
"Oh I want to see you Maan. Where are you?" she let her head fall on her desk with a defeated sigh. Long distance sucked big time. Her day didn't seem charming anymore. It felt so lifeless, work seemed like a burden... oh dear heart, why do you long for him so?
She checked the time and decided to just call it a day. She had sulked enough for the day and she knew he wouldn't pick up his phone either.
She walked out of the office and who did she see but Maan standing by his car, with his hands folded over his chest. She stood there for a few seconds taking a good look at him. He was in his usual jeans, a black tee with a jacket and with those rimless specs. He stood leaning against his car waiting.
She gaped at him and then hit her head.
"How desperate are you Geet? Hmmm? You are hallucinating. Jeez."
He was on some trip she knew and he was busy, she knew it too. Shaking her head she looked away and walked towards the bus stop.
He sighed, shook his head and rushed after her.
"Geet... Geet..." he called out.
She rolled her eyes, "Damn you woman. You can hear his voice now. Get a grip on yourself."
She took a long deep breath and stepped ahead. a strong hand held her by her arm and spun her around. It was so quick that she felt her head spinning with the force.
"You are crazy..."
She heard his voice and then felt his cold lips press her mouth in a sudden unexpected kiss right in the middle of god knows where.
"Ummm...ummm.." she was startled as her hands involuntarily pressed against his shoulders pushing him with such feeble force that he didn't even feel.
His lips pressed hers hard and then moved softly against them. His one hand slipped to her waist and the other cradled her head to hold her still.
Her heart skipped beats as her eyes refused to open and her brain tried to decipher what was going on. His voice only echoed in her head as her lips reciprocated the kiss subtly and moved against his. Her fingers now curled and clutched his jacket in a fist as her brain slowly recognised that voice and gave a definite shape to her imagination. That familiar faint musk of cologne and that soft touch of his lips made her lips curl into a smile.
They broke apart after a distant honk of some car and she gently opened her eyes only to find those dark black eyes staring back at them with so much happiness.
"Oh my god, you are here..." and she hauled herself into his arms and held him so tight that surprised him.
He held her close and pressed a kiss on her hair, "You did not expect this, did you now?"
He whispered into her ears and felt her hold tighten around him. She had never done this before. She parted, took a good look at him and then hugged him back again.
"I missed you so much."
He couldn't have been happier. He had been traveling like crazy and he had his phone broken. It was only for the weekend but he was delighted when he realized he had to travel to London. Seemed as if surprising her wasn't a bad idea at all.
"Feelings mutual, Sweetheart." His whispered naughtily in her ears making her blush.
After that incident with Pooja he had enjoyed teasing her with the word. She had fought with him and cribbed and he had promised not to tease her anymore but somehow, he just did.
She broke apart and waked his arm, "Stop teasing me, you monster."
He laughed. She melted.
"I am not at fault Geet. That was your idea."
She turned red in embarrassment, "erm well I just said that to stop Pooja from eating my head."
He shook his head and felt all his tiredness draining out of his body just with her mere presence.
"lets go." He snaked an arm around her waist and ushered her towards his car. The sky turned darker and the clouds hovered.
"but how come you are here?" she asked cutely surprised.
"Got some meeting tomorrow with this client."
Her smile vanished as she looked at him, looking into something in his phone.
Kanha, so this is why he came? How mean!!!!
"So, you have work that is why you are here?" she asked weakly which he didn't even notice.
"Umm. I have this major take-over...I had told you right?" he helped her get into the car and took a seat beside her, instructing the driver to go to his hotel.
She made a face, "which means you are not here for me!!"
He stopped for a moment and took time to grasp what she was saying and sighed, "Geet, no. it is not like that."
She looked away feeling let down, "Admit it. You just came for your work. Not for me. You wouldn't have even come had you not got some damned meeting."
He looked at her pouty-angry face in amusement for a moment and smiled, "Geet you can't be serious!!!"
She twisted her lips and he was tempted to kiss them all over again but held back.
"I am serious. You don't take my calls, you don't call back either and all you do is leave some stupid text message and expect me to be okay with it!!!"
It was so amusing to see her complain like this that he couldn't wipe off the grin off his face. He gently held her hand and laced his fingers with hers. Pressing a kiss on the back of her palm he looked at her lovingly, "I'm sorry."
She looked at him in surprise at his easy apology and raised a brow in question. The place where he kissed, tingled.
"I wanted to visit you little storm but I was just too held up. But then this lady, she finally agreed to meet me here in London and trust me I couldn't have been happier!!!"
She watched him for a few moments taking in his appearance and realized he remained just the way she had left him in New York a month back, except for the stubble that had grown and he hadn't trimmed it yet.
They stopped in front of his hotel and he took her inside. It was a beautiful suite that he had and she was in awe of it.
"You want to eat something?" he asked, taking off his jacket and turning on the room heater.
"Umm." She could only say that much.
She stood by the couch and watched him stand a little ahead of hers, calling the room service and ordering food for them. She took in the view and smiled softly. So much distance spanned between them and she realized she couldn't bear that anymore. The moment he kept the phone down, she ran into his arms and hugged him, "I am so happy that you are here."
He had never seen her this expressive. She was always shy in front of him, at least when it came to expressing her love. He had to coax reactions out of her. But something had changed. He realized now, something was new about her, something different.
He gently caressed her head, "are you okay?"
She parted and nodded in affirmative, her lips curling into a wide smile, "Umm han!! Come with me."
She held his hand and dragged him to the couch and made him sit. She sat beside him, taking off her shoes and tossing them away and lifted her feet up.
"Tell me." She blinked in quick succession, "tell me everything about you."
He had never seen this side of hers and realized something had changed in her definitely. As he talked of everyone back in NYC and his work and how much he had missed her and stuffs like that, she couldn't help but just sit and listen to all of him.
Every. Little. Bit.
The room serve left their food and they sat together, munching and talking about everything that had happened in their lives. They had talked about it over phone but still so many things remained unsaid it seemed.
"...and I will be done with my first project in the next one month Maan. I am definitely taking a long holiday and going back to NYC..." She bit her fries and kept talking to him animatedly.
It was only the distant rumble of the clouds that brought the back to the world that they lived it.
"Come on now, lets drop you home." He hated every bit of the word he uttered.
Why couldn't just time stop?
She made a face and half-heartedly slipped into her shoes.
"Maan, stay with us na!!!" she finally spoke in the car the thing that had been in her mind for long. It had started drizzling and she felt his warm fingers slipping between hers.
"I wish I could but I have some important calls plus I need to get the presentation ready for tomorrow."
She didn't say a word. They reached home and everyone seemed so delighted, especially Pooja. They had a quick dinner for he had to leave before the weather worsened. Everyone insisted him to stay back but he knew he couldn't. Geet watched him helplessly but then she knew he wouldn't stop even if they requested. He had work and she knew he wouldn't abandon it.
She walked with him to the car, holding his hand. The rains were coming.
"Maan, why can't you stay back?" she asked once again.
He stopped and looked back, "You know the reason little storm. Don't you know how much I want to stay back with you?"
Stay back with you...
Her heart raced within her. He took a step closer and pressed a kiss at the corner of her lips. His eyes held intensity and his kiss held a promise.
She saw him off and went back to her room recalling the entire evening with him. They had just sat and talked and now he was gone.
What are you doing to me Geet? How can I ever tell you how excruciating it is to touch you and then let you go...
He had told her once. And today as she felt sleep far far away from her eyes, she realized what those words meant.
To touch you and then let you go...
She realized what it meant now.
And this was just the beginning for her...
"Uhh Geet?" he called her early morning.
She rolled on her stomach and smiled, "Good Morning."
Her sleepy voice made him sigh.
"Good morning little storm. Did you sleep well?"
No I didn't...
She wanted to tell him but then she just didn't. she could only hum in agreement.
"You don't have a meeting?"
He adjusted his tie, "yeah. I will be leaving in an hour,"
"Did you have your breakfast? Don't skip it please."
"I will order something. Accha suno ab..."
"How are you placed this evening?"
Butterflies fluttered in her stomach with some unknown anticipation, "Erm, it's a Saturday Maan and unlike you, I have no plans. Are you coming over?"
Excitement ran through her veins like blood. They hadn't gotten a chance to spend some proper time together.
His reply broke her heart, "what do you mean by no?"
"What I mean is be ready by 7. I will pick you up."
"but where are we going?"
"there's a party tonight with the clients and I want you to come with me."
"but I...how can I? I mean Maan you..."
"Shhh. I want you by my side. That's it. Just be ready okay?"
Scarlet crept up her neck and spread on her cheeks. He wanted her!!!
He wanted her by his side!
"Geet? Are you there?"
"Hmmm. I... I will be ready."
"I love you." He whispered and disconnected the call.
She remained in her bed, smiling and blushing and sighing in defeat. She didn't know what she was feeling but the feeling was so beautiful that she couldn't even give words to it. He wanted her. That was the end of all thoughts.
It was long after he was gone that sanity hit her hard.
She quickly freshened up and rushed down the stairs calling out for Pooja.
He hated himself for being this busy. His passion ate up all his time now that he knew he had to share that time with her. He pulled in the car and got off to meet her. He was right on time and was welcomed by everyone. Pooja greeted him at the door and he handed her a bouquet of flowers to her.
"I think you have mistaken me for Geet." She teased to which he gave that lopsided smile of his.
"I am not so dumb knowing in what trap have I let my feet in when I fell in love with your friend."
His open confession made Pooja blush and all she could say was a meek thank you for the beautiful flowers.
She walked out hurriedly adjusting that earring on her ears and stopped shirt seeing him stare at her in awe.
Clad in the simplest of a maroon knee length dress, she looked every bit her'. Her hair let down cascaded on one of her shoulders and those matching heels were the only accessory she had on herself. As her gaze focussed on him, she realized he eyes were totally on her. Shyness made her blush as she slowly walked towards her.
He had known her to be one beautiful woman from the very beginning and he knew "beautiful" isn't the right word he was looking for right now. She was something akin to "genuine" to him. She was herself and that was what he loved the most about her.
"shall we?" she whispered softly as she neared him, conscious of his gaze. She could totally hear Pooja trying to hold those giggles behind her.
He guided her towards the car and the driver drove them to their destination in a silent journey.
As they got down and walked inside, he gently slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her close to him in a jerk, making her smile. Her hand curled around his arm as she matched his steps and smiled at his hold that remained tight around her.