Woahhh! Lovely update!!! Enjoyed it soo much!
finally the update is here, Such a fun chap, i loved reading the awkwardness between them and loved tte part how they both opn up abt their pain to each other, loved the stranger concept, story just getting better and better
such a beautiful update...
This is Evan better than the movie
Ok so he lied because his father must be cheating with aditya's gf or wife right!!! just taking a guess. anyway awesome progress finally a glimpse of yash!!
They're opening upto each other. That's really nice to see. Can't wait for more :)
Chapter 10 - Happily ever afters (Feb 15)
Zoya stretched her arms and slowly opened her eyes, adjusting to the morning light peering in from the window. She turned her head sideways and saw Aditya sleeping next to her. Her eyes popped open and she immediately sat upright.
Sh*t! She muttered to herself, jumping out of the bed.
When did she fall asleep? She remembered drinking and talking last night. She felt tipsy and had closed her eyes only for a moment... She must have dozed off then.
Aditya was sleeping soundly, tucked under the blanket, which was now ruffled from one side, where she was sleeping. It's okay, she told herself. They were just sharing a bed, nothing had happened.
She tiptoed around the bed so as not to wake him up, collecting a towel and a fresh pair of clothes and heading to the shower. The warm shower had rid her off the drowsy feeling.
She was now sitting on the dining table at the ground floor, sipping a cup of lemon green tea. She had a slight headache- the hangover from drinking so much wine last night.
Her mind wandered off to last night and she shut her eyes in embarrassment. Not only had she comfortably slept next to Aditya the entire night but she had told him many of her close-held fears and uncertainties like how her father's cold behavior toward Yash made her doubt if she was missing something, how disappointed she was when Yash didn't talk to her properly over the phone call.
Why did she have to say all that to him! She mentally cursed herself. It was she who started the 'talking to strangers help' spiel so it was her own fault that she rambled on and on. She only hoped Aditya wouldn't remember any of it.
"Good morning!" Ivy's chirp jolted Zoya out of her thoughts. She craned her neck to see Aditya descending down the staircase. She immediately looked away when Aditya's eyes found hers.
He made small talk with Ivy who then served him with a cup of tea and a plate of eggs and toast and retired to the kitchen. Aditya sat on the chair, across from her. He dug in his breakfast without saying anything to Zoya.
Her mind went back to last night. It wasn't only her who had been spilling secrets, he too had told her of his father's infidelities and his mother's weakness. Since Aditya was someone who didn't really engage in conversations, she reckoned last night must have been more embarrassing for him than her.
Well,her mind reasoned, that was a relief of sorts. Now they could just pretend that all was okay.
"Where did you sleep last night?" His voice cut through the silence. His eyebrows furrowed like he just had the realisation. She had sneaked away from the room before he woke up.
"Umm..." she stuttered, "Just... in the room."
"On the floor?" he asked, doubting, "Without a blanket?"
Zoya pursed her lips, not meeting his gaze. "On the bed."
It took him some time to reply, "Next to me?"
Zoya nodded and took a sip of the warm tea.
"Oh." He mumbled.
"Nothing happened between us, okay," she blurted.
Aditya's lips curled in amusement, "Is that what you are worried about? Of course nothing happened. I know that. I was so drunk last night, I barely remember when I feel asleep. And I am guessing so were you. You don't have to beat yourself up about it."
For the first time, that morning, Zoya managed a small smile.
Zoya was sitting in the garden with another cup of tea in her hand. It was 11 in the morning. An hour back Aditya had gone with Frank, who had gotten extra help from the town, to get their car out of the mud.
Zoya looked at her phone screen. The 1 network bar was still there. She exhaled through her mouth, before dialing Yash's number.
Everyone has time for a greeting, she told herself as the phone rang. Even Yash. He could take a couple minutes out for her. He hadn't called her or even texted after last night.
A few rings later, Yash picked up, "Zoya. Hey."
"I miss you," she said directly, "We have been apart in the past but this time feels so different..."
"I miss you too," Yash replied. Zoya could hear muffled voice in the background. "It's Mahi," Yash spoke, "I really am busy with her new venture. We'll talk later okay?"
"How about tonight?" she asked expectantly. "Surely you can manage a few minutes for your girlfriend."
Zoya would be in Dublin tonight but Yash wouldn't. He was away on a weekend business meeting and would get back by Sunday evening. She wouldn't see him tonight, at least his voice would provide her some company.
"I told you, tonight won't do," he spoke louder over the increasing muffled voice behind him, "I will talk to you tomorrow."
Zoya felt a bit dejected. "We'll talk tomorrow. I won't disturb you again."
"Zoya, don't be like this, please" he mumbled, "I don't have a choice."
He was right. His sister needed help and he was assisting her. If Zoya pestered him, that would only add to his burden.
"I am sorry," she apologized, "I'll wait for your call."
His voice cheered up, "I will talk to you soon. I love you."
It put a smile on her face, "Love you too."
She hung up and sighed. Her plan to surprise him seemed to keep delaying further and further- first the flight diverted to Kerry airport, then she was stuck in Tralee due to bad weather, then she and Aditya were lost and now Yash would be out of Dublin. She would now see him 5 days later than she had originally intended. A part of her wondered if she would ever get to see him.
Far ahead, she spotted Aditya and Frank walking back to the cottage. Frank waved at her and she waved back. The happy smiles on Frank and Aditya's face, meant that the car was out of the mud.
"The car's fixed," Aditya informed her when he walked up to her. Frank receded into the house. "We can leave whenever you are ready."
Zoya thought for a moment, "Is it fine if do some sightseeing first? And leave in the afternoon?"
She nodded, "There is a castle here that Ivy was telling me about, when you were out with Frank. It's in ruins now but I wanted to see it."
"I thought you were in a rush to get to Dublin," he arched an eyebrow.
"Yash won't be there tonight. He'll be back tomorrow," she explained, "So no rush." She paused before adding, "Oh. I forgot you are here for work. We should go, you might not want to be delayed-."
Aditya cut her in, "It's fine. I am in no rush. We can do a little sightseeing."
"Okay!" she chirped, "I'll ask Ivy for directions."
The castle was a half an hour walk along the town road and then a few minutes hike uphill. Once a castle now it was a ruin, atop the hill. There was no one in the area, clearly it was not a tourist spot.
Aditya quietly kept following Zoya as she walked among the broken walls of stone. She climbed a narrow staircase with him in tow. The passageway opened to, what once was, a huge balcony.
From atop, they could see the small town, nestled among lush green hills. It made for a pretty sight.
"Ivy told me a story," Zoya's spoke, "about this castle." She was looking below at the town. Aditya stood near her and looked ahead, at the clear blue sky.
"It's an old tale- about this young girl who was forced to marry an old man whom she didn't love. She was in love with a boy who was in the old man's service." Zoya's finger traced pattern on the stone pillar next to her, "On the night of the wedding, the girl snuck a sleeping draught in the wine and the entire household fell unconscious. The boy and the girl ran away. They traveled through Ireland, seeking shelter here and there, hiding where ever they could from the old man's army. This castle was one of their shelter."
"What happened to them?"
Zoya shrugged her shoulders, "Some say they were caught and punished. Some say they were pardoned, some say they escaped to overseas and no one could find them. I like to think they lived happily ever after."
Aditya scoffed, "You believe in happily ever afters?"
She turned to face him, "Yes."
"You really think 2 people can just live together, all their lives without any problem? That's unrealistic."
"Happily ever after doesn't mean that they won't ever face any problem or fight," she stated, "It simply means that whatever obstacle they face, they will overcome together... because when you are with the right person, everything else is trivial. Nothing matters more than him."
"And Yash is your happily-ever-after?" he asked sincerely. Not as a snarky comment or a jibe.
She took time to reply, "I... Yeah." Her words sounded hollow to Aditya, but he didn't press on.
"Good for you."
"Let me guess, you don't believe in happy endings," she stated, playfully narrowing her eyes. "Is there anything you are not a cynic about?"
A smirk tugged at his lips. "You have me all sorted out."
She studied him for a moment, "It would seem so, but then you go ahead and surprise me."
He smiled this time. These past few days he had been doing a lot of things, and even acting in a manner which would, on a typical day, surprise him too. He never shirked work yet here he was in the Irish countryside listening and talking to her idly, like it was just another Saturday. What was it about her that made him behave this way?
"Do you want to have lunch, before leaving for Limerick?" she asked and he nodded.
The distances were not very long, it was comfortable enough to roam on foot. They found a small caf on their walk back. It was somewhere on the road between the castle and the town. Lunch was a quiet affair with both eating sandwiches and drinking coffee in silence. The sky outside was starting to get darker due to clouds. It would rain soon, Aditya reckoned.
He looked at his watch. It was half past 3.
"If you want to make it to Dublin by nightfall, we should be leaving now," he informed her after they had split the bill and head back to the cottage.
On route, she suddenly commented, "We haven't seen the town yet."
Zoya nodded, "Shouldn't we at least have a look around? Who knows when will either of us ever return here?"
"Why are you stalling?" Aditya asked directly, "Do you not want to be in Dublin tonight?"
She sighed. "Yash will be back tomorrow. I just thought I could... spend my time here than wait for him in a lonely hotel room." She paused then added, "Oh! I keep forgetting that you have to get back to work. Sorry."
"It's fine," he assured her, "Tomorrow is Sunday. No one's going to come to work anyway."
Her face brightened up at his words. And that made him smile. He was putting his schedule on hold so that she could explore a town in the middle of nowhere. What was happening to him?
"Sure?" she double-checked.
"There is no where else I would rather be."
Zoya was delighted when Aditya agreed to her suggestion. She wasn't looking forward to a car ride to Limerick and a subsequent train or bus journey to Dublin only to be welcomed by a vacant hotel room. Yash being away was one reason, but there was also something else which was nagging her.
Since last night, ever since she voiced her inner doubt to Aditya, she had been revisiting her words. Her father's disapproval of Yash was something she brushed under the rug for the past few months but now, with Noor's claim of Yash proposing to her and Yash's current underwhelming response had stirred some unpleasant feelings inside her.
She wanted to talk to Yash, desperately, so she could rid herself of these thoughts that had started to take hold in her mind. When Noor had deduced that Yash would propose marriage, she was thrilled. She didn't give a second thought before rushing off to Dublin. But now that she was so close, and had time to reflect, something... that she couldn't exactly pinpoint- something was off.
Maybe she was over thinking; she told herself. In her rush to reach Dublin, she hadn't planned ahead, or thought of what would happen after. And now that she had nothing but time, her idle mind had become a nest of negative thoughts. That was it, she reckoned- Idle mind and over active imagination. Nothing was wrong with Yash's behavior. She had let her father's words get to her head.
She shook off the feeling and slowly strode ahead on the narrow concrete road. Aditya was walking beside her in silence. On reaching the town square, they visited a cathedral, explored some shops, had drinks at a pub that was crawling with people since it seemed the only one in miles.
They reached the b&b at 10pm, after a long day. They made small talk with Ivy and Frank before retiring to their room. Once Zoya had freshened up and changed into her nightwear, the same conundrum from last night presented itself- where to sleep.
Last night, between wine and conversation, they had fallen asleep on the same bed. Tonight she had only a couple of drinks and was in her senses. Aditya caught on, "You take the bed, I ll take the floor."
She shook her head, "We had this discussion last night. You have to drive tomorrow. I am not even very sleepy. I'll probably spend my night reading any way. The couch should do."
Aditya wanted to press on. He wanted to suggest that they could share the bed, like they had last night. But saying that aloud might make him sound like a creep. And he knew she wouldn't agree anyway. It was one thing to unintentionally fall asleep while inebriated and another to make a conscious decision.
He did attempt to persuade her to use the bed, while he used the couch. A request she had vehemently denied, again and again. Her reasoning was sound. That couch or the floor would hardly be fit for a night's rest before resuming their drive. So he half-heartedly agreed.
He got in the bed and pulled the blanket to his chest while she snuggled in the couch with a book.
"Good night," she said, turning on the lamp next to couch.
"Good night,"" he replied, turning off the bedside lamp.
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