OMG this wat i loved about right stories...
The last two chaps are amazing!!!!!!! you really are making progress!!!! Loved the kiss!! Hope zoya feels differently too, very soon. Thanks for updating.
Chapter 9 - Talking to Strangers (Feb 14)
Zoya decided she would not think of what had just transpired downstairs.
After the unexpected... Zoya had made excuses of being tired and had withdrawn to her room upstairs. Aditya was with Ivy and Frank, helping them clean up. The other couple, Stefan and Kate had retired to their room as well since she had heard the door, next to theirs, close.
She exhaled once more, deeply, like she had done for the past God-knows-how-many minutes. It was just a harmless peck on the lips. It didn't even last for more than a sec- she had nothing to feel bad about. It didn't mean anything.
She plopped on the bed, the mattress bounced under the sudden exertion of her weight.
She had to forget about this... minor kink, she told herself again. If she didn't think about it, she would soon forget it even happened. And moreover, once the car was out of the muck tomorrow, she would reach Limerick in a couple of hours and then another few hours to Dublin- to Yash!
A ping noise cut through her thoughts. It was the faint beep of a cellphone. Her cellphone! She stood upright abruptly and fished her mobile from her handbag. One bar of network on her phone! She exclaimed a small "yes!" and unlocked her phone.
There were a few messages from her parents and Noor, asking her generic questions about her trip. She scrolled down without reading till she saw 2 text messages from Yash.
-Feb 11| 01:20pm-
It was a long and tiring journey.
At home now with Mom and Mahi
Talk to you soon. Love you.
Happy Valentine's Day
The last text was just a few hours ago. Zoya felt a bit odd about the lack of more texts. She hadn't spoken to him in 4 days, surely he would've thought about that. Though infrequent communication when they were apart wasn't rare. Yash traveled a lot for work so sometimes they would go for a few days talking only via texts.
She shrugged aside the weird feeling and dailled Yash's no. Since she was using her India sim, he wouldn't know that she was here in Ireland and wouldn't spoil the surprise.
She muttered a few "please, please" whilst the call was getting connected due to 1 intermittent network bar. She heaved a sigh of relief when the sound of ringing erupted from the other end.
After about 4 rings, Yash received the call.
"Hello," his voice was hoarse.
"Yash!" she exclaimed in joy at hearing his voice. She hadn't heard his voice in 4 days. 4 awful days.
"Zoya," he muttered sleepily.
She looked at the time on her wristwatch. It was a few minutes after half past nine.
"Since when do you sleep so early?" she grinned.
"It's way past midnight!" he replied, between sleep and what she sensed, annoyance.
"No, it's 9:40pm," she corrected him, "Are you all right?"
There was a silence for a few seconds before he spoke. This time his voice was much clearer, like he had woken up completely, "Oh, yeah. I was so tired, I slept early I guess."
"Tired?" she asked, "Aren't you on vacation?"
"It's Mahi," he responded, "she wants to leave her job and open her own business- event management. I have been helping her."
Her sweet Yash, she thought to herself with a smile, always thinking about others.
"Go back to sleep," she said, "I will see-," she stopped herself and composed her dialogue, "I mean, I will call you tomorrow and we'll catch up properly."
"Oh," he thought before speaking, "I will be out of Dublin tomorrow. Mahi only has weekends free since she is still working. We need to go out of town for some work for her start-up. I will be back on Sunday. We can talk then... you know... properly."
"Sure," she replied.
Okay, so she won't get to surprise him tomorrow on Saturday. Sunday would do too. She could wait another 24 hours when she had already waited for 4 days.
"Going back to bed," he muttered, "Goodnight. Love you."
"Love you too," she said just before he hung up.
Aditya had heard voices from his room and he could make out Zoya was talking to her boyfriend. So he waited at the doorway for her to finish. She hung up in just a few minutes, ending with a "love you too."
What were you expecting? A voice in his head mocked him. She had a boyfriend for whom she had traveled continents. He had to keep a lid on whatever these new feelings were bubbling in him, he firmly told himself.
He took some moments to compose himself before knocking the door and entering the room.
Zoya spun around and for the first time after their kiss, she looked at him directly.
He closed the door behind him but stood still, clutching the cold door-knob with one hand and a bottle of red wine on the other, which Ivy had given him as a 'thank you' for helping clean up.
She bit her lower lip, clearly wanting to say something. An awkward silence had settled between them.
"I just... wanted to say... that..." she spoke with pauses as Aditya looked on eagerly. She took a deep breath and uttered, "I am sorry."
Sorry? Well, that was unexpected.
Catching on his confusion she added, "I didn't ask you if it was okay, you know... what we did downstairs," she referred vaguely to their kiss, "I just assumed you'd be okay. I shouldn't have... I am sorry if you felt... uncomfortable."
"No, it was good," Aditya blurted and immediately cursed himself, "I mean," he tried to do some damage control, "You don't have to apologize. We both knew what was at stake. So. It's cool."
"I don't do things like that," she went on, "I have a boyfriend."
"So I just wanted to... you know..." she fumbled for words.
"It's completely fine," he tried to calm her, "You don't have to feel guilty or anything. That," he paused before speaking, "Didn't mean anything."
"Okay," she breathed the word.
Again the awkward silence; both stood at their own places, waiting for the other to say something or do something, which would bring some normalcy back. Their eyes fell on the small double bed and a single double-sized blanket.
Zoya eyes searched around the room. Aditya knew she was trying to locate another blanket, if any.
"There's just one blanket," she uttered, then bent down to check underneath the bed, "Nothing." She informed him and rose, "How will we sleep at night? If there were 2 blankets, one of us could..." she looked at the tiny excuse of a couch and then at the cramped floor space.
"How can the kitchen be bigger than a bedroom?" she questioned, her eyebrows knitted in disbelief.
Aditya chuckled and so did she, "Seriously. Even if we had a spare blanket, where would the other person sleep? That sofa is not even fit for a kid and there's hardly any space on the floor to lie down properly."
She contemplated something before suggesting, "You should take the bed. You have to drive tomorrow. I will..." she turned to face the couch, "try to nap in there." She quirked her eyebrows in what Aditya thought was her way of mentally calculating how she could fit in the tiny couch for a whole night.
"It's not even 10," he interrupted her thought process, "I am not sleepy at all." He sat on the edge of the bed and kept the bottle of red wine on the side table. Zoya looked at the bottle and before she could ask, he answered her unspoken query, "Ivy gave it."
Zoya nodded and then turned her gaze to the soft mattress and the blanket, "Do you mind," she asked biting her lower lip, "if I just sit on the bed for a while?"
"Go ahead," he answered. He took off his shoes, lifted the blanket and snuggled in. Zoya did the same on the opposite corner of the bed.
"This feels so good," he heard her mumble as she rubbed her hands and placed her warm palms on her cheeks, "Especially after spending a night in a car seat," she added raising her voice. "Oh! There's network here, it's intermittent and barely lasts but it works."
"I am good," he responded stiffly.
The last thing he wanted to do on this day was check for messages or calls. He knew his mother would have left a couple texts asking him about his journey and letting him know about the party. He was glad that he was stuck on this day in a place with no network. He didn't want to deal with any of the drama tonight.
"Is something wrong?" Zoya's voice jolted him out of his thoughts.
"Nothing." He lied.
She narrowed her eyes, clearly not believing him. "Sometimes it helps to talk... especially with strangers."
"For starters, we won't meet again so there won't be any judgment from a stranger, nor the risk of her disclosing your secret," she replied, "You just feel more at ease."
"So," he asked pressing his fingers on his chin, "What is your problem, Miss. Siddiqui?"
She let out a nervous laugh, "I don't have any."
He narrowed his eyes, the same way she had minutes ago which made her chuckle.
"It helps to talk to a stranger," he mimicked her, repeating the dialogue. "Here," he picked up the bottle of red wine and handed it to her, "some liquid courage."
She considered for sometime before grabbing the bottle from his hand and uncorking it. She poured herself a glass and handed him back the bottle. She took a sip before speaking, "It's nothing probably but... I just spoke to my boyfriend-."
The mention of the word boyfriend made him take a swig directly from the bottle. Zoya paused and scrunched her eyebrows, "Drinking wine like that? Real classy."
Aditya rolled his eyes, "You were saying something."
She continued, "Yash, that's my boyfriend's name... I spoke to him tonight after so many days and there was hardly any enthusiasm from him."
She looked at Aditya for a reaction, on not getting any, she resumed, "I mean we have stayed apart for long periods and we did go a few days without talking much but this is the first time he is in a different country. I... just... I don't know..."
"And there's something else which has been nagging me." Zoya took a big gulp, finishing the entire content of the glass, before Aditya refilled her glass.
"So, my family sees something that I don't. I mean my mother only supports my relationship with Yash because she thinks I will die a spinster if I don't marry Yash and Noor, my younger sister is happy as long as I am but my father has always opposed Yash. He says there's something off about Yash. But I don't understand what. What is it that they all feel but I don't? Am I being stupid by overlooking some major flaw in Yash? Or am I being paranoid, there is nothing wrong and my father is just being protective?"
She held her forehead with her right-hand. Was it the fact that she had spoken her fear out loud or was it 2nd glass of wine that made her slightly tipsy? She already had downed some whiskey earlier. Without looking up at Aditya, she asked, "I never said this to any one. But it's always in my mind. What do you think?"
"I think you are lucky to have a father who cares," he remarked, taking another swig from the bottle. "My father is just a jerk. An unfaithful jerk."
Without any prodding, Aditya told her of what had happened between his father and mother. How his father had cheated on his mother (still did), how he had caught his father in the act, how his mother instead of taking a stand just put on a fake show and "forgot what his father had done, what a farce their relationship was... He told her everything.
His eyes were focused ahead on a painting of a sunset hung on the wall. His voice had started to become heavy.
It dawned on Zoya that this was the first time Aditya had talked at length. It was an intimate piece of his life, yet he had shared it with her.
Maybe under the influence of alcohol, or maybe due to her 'talking to a stranger' speech, he had slightly let down his walls and given her a glimpse of what he held in his heart- contempt for his father and anger on his mother for subjecting herself and the kids to a humiliating experience.
Without thinking, she inched closer to him on the bed till she was a couple of feet away from him. She placed her hand on his and gave a light squeeze, "I am sorry."
The feel of her warm palm against the cold back of his hand brought Aditya back to the present. Like always, he had gone down a trail of bad memories. He hadn't intended to tell her anything but somehow, he felt he could talk to her. What was in his heart was eating at him for so long. It felt good to say it out loud.
She was right about 'talking to strangers' part. It did help.
Though he didn't know how long he could fool his heart in considering her as just a stranger. The past couple of days had been stressful yet in the midst of all that, his feelings for her were changing.
"Are you fine?" she asked, squeezing his hand again. She was only a couple of feet away from him. If he raised his hand, he could touch her face.
No! What are you thinking! Getting a grip on himself, Aditya immediately ceased his train of thoughts. Was it the alcohol talking? Or did he really want to...
He cleared his throat and replied, "I am fine."
"Is that why you hate Valentine's day so much? Because of what happened between your parents?" She alluded to the conversation they had the previous night when they were stuck in the car. They were having an argument and he had apologized later, telling her that Valentine's day brought up a lot of bad memories.
He looked at her eyes and then to her hand still overlapping his.
"Yes." He lied.
---------Edited by ErisedWitch45 - 2018-09-05T08:02:54Z
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