Nice update.. Felt like the story didn't move much in this one except for their inner introspections... So they're gonna go back, then what?? Eagerly waiting for the next part
awesome update yar
Thanks for pm as always
This is getting more beautiful with each chapters..even i dnt wabt this journey to end and they reach limeric so soon....seems like aditya has already started falling for her though he doesnt realize it..cant waut to read more dear..i am loving it so.much..
Ohhh I absolutely loved this update yar!
Chapter 11 - Back on the road (Feb 16)
There was a crick in Zoya's neck the next morning. She massaged her weary shoulder with her fingertips, standing beneath the shower. She was hoping the warmth in the water would help mitigate the ache she had in her neck and shoulder. Sleeping on the tiny couch had been as uncomfortable as sleeping on the car seat. Sleeping would be going too far; she had intermittent naps throughout the night waking up every couple of hours, sometimes after every few minutes. Somehow the night had at last passed and morning was on them.
Aditya had showered first and then left the room, giving her the privacy to freshen up. The next phase of her journey was a couple of hours drive to Limerick and then a few hours of a bus or train ride to Dublin.
She wiped the condensation off the small mirror hanging on the wall of the bathroom. Her eyes were somewhat puffy and red, due to the lack of sleep. The shoulder and neck ache was now ebbing away. Just a few hours more, she told herself.
She put on a peach coloured top with black jeans and brown boots, carrying along a brown jacket. She had gone through almost all the new clothes that she had hurriedly bought at the Delhi airport. She kept her night suit in one of the shopping bags.
There was a knock on the door, she opened it to find Aditya holding a black trolley bag.
"It's for you," he said, pushing the bag to her. "You have been carrying all your stuff in shopping bags. It was high time you had a suitcase."
She looked for the bag and then at him, "Umm... thanks. You didn't have to. How much was it? I'll add it to the amount that I need to pay you for the trip."
He waved a hand at her, "It wasn't a big deal. I had time so I drove to the town."
She was about to insist when he spoke, "We should get going. You are yet to have breakfast downstairs and then we need to clear our bill with Ivy. It's 10am already."
Zoya nodded, thanking him again for the bag. He dragged his already packed suitcase and left the room. She put the new bag on the bed, and started placing her clothes in it.
Aditya was putting the 2 bags in the boot of his rental car and Zoya was bidding Frank and Ivy goodbye. She complimented them on their lovely house and the great time that she had in it. She thanked them for their generous hospitality and their help with the car situation.
"Take good care of yourself and that husband of yours," Ivy was saying.
Zoya felt a pinch of guilt that she had lied to the old couple about her and Aditya's marital status. They seemed so nice.
Ivy continued, "That man really cares for you. You can see it in his eyes."
This statement caught Zoya off-guard. Either Ivy was too hopeless of a romantic or Aditya was that good an actor. Either way, their small lie had worked better than she had presumed.
She smiled weakly in reply, not wanting to further elongate the conversation in this direction.
Ivy, however, had no intention of letting it go, "It's in the way he looks at you. Like he is, right now."
Zoya arched an eyebrow. Aditya didn't 'look' at her in any way especially along the lines that Ivy was implying. Did he? A tiny doubt cast her mind and she craned her head to where he was.
He was leaning against the car door, arms across his chest, a tiny hint of smile on his lips and his eyes, just like Ivy had claimed, were on her. When her gaze met his, he glanced away. An unusual feeling was taking hold in the pit of her stomach.
A few minutes later, she had gotten in the passenger seat and they drove off, away from the small cottage, towards the highway.
"What were you and Ivy talking about?" he questioned, nonchalantly, eyes focused on the road ahead.
"Oh..." she gulped, "Nothing important."
Zoya had fallen asleep almost immediately as soon as they had found the highway. Despite of being sleep-deprived, she hadn't rested till they were back on the proper road. Frank had provided detailed description of which roads to take. After half an hour, the narrow road they were driving on had merged with the highway and it was then she closed her eyes and let sleep take over her.
Some time later, she woke up and rubbed her eyes. She turned the screen of her phone on. It showed 12:30pm- an hour and a half since they had left Kanturk.
"Are we about to reach Limerick?" she asked stretching her arms. The sleep had done her some good.
His response made her widen her eyes, "What? How come? Are we lost again?"
He chuckled, without looking at her, "We are not lost."
"Then why haven't we reached Limerick yet?"
"Because we are not going to Limerick."
His reply made her already wide eyes almost pop out. "What do you mean? I have a bus to catch from Limerick to Dublin. You better not be wasting my time."
"We are going straightaway to Dublin," he informed her coolly.
She took a moment to respond, "Didn't you say you had work in Limerick?"
"I do, but it can wait. The two cities are just a few hours car-ride apart and like I told you- no one works on a Sunday, so doesn't matter if I reach late." He must have sensed that the answer didn't satisfy her since he added, "Sleeping in that couch was uncomfortable, I can infer that from your puffy eyes and dull face. Getting a bus from Limerick and then a cab for where ever you'll stay in Dublin will take time and energy and I can tell, you are running low on the latter."
The only thing that came to her mind on hearing his explanation were Ivy's recent words- He cares for you, you can see it in his eyes, in the way he looks at you.
"You..." she slowly muttered, "You just surprise me. You keep doing that."
Everything was calm on the outside but on the inside, Aditya was engaged in a battle- with himself. One voice in his head was berating him for the silly decisions that he was taking, one after another- Like now he was driving Zoya to Dublin. Why couldn't he just take her till Limerick like they had initially agreed and be done with it?
Because, the other voice chimed in, he gets to spend more time with her- even if a few hours.
That is pathetic, the other voice grumbled, as pathetic as driving the girl to her boyfriend.
He wasn't crossing any line; he wasn't expecting anything. He just liked being in her company... for reasons inexplicable to him.
Gratefully, his inner turmoil was brought to a pause when the car engine suddenly started making weird noises. He slowed down the car and pulled over. He restarted the engine by turning the key, it made the same sputtering sound but the vehicle didn't start. He did that a couple of times again, with no luck.
"You've got to be kidding me!" he grumbled and opened the bonnet to take a look. There was smoke emitting from one of the components. He couldn't understand what had gone wrong though he knew the car wouldn't start now, not without professional help.
Zoya had walked up to the front and stood adjacent to him, her eyes moving from the engine to him. He was about to tell her of their bad luck when she started laughing. For a moment, he was taken aback. He thought she would start fretting but her reaction was completely unexpected.
A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth purely on seeing her amused face and hearing her light laughter. What effect was he having on him?
"This is... something," she began, reigning in her mirth, "It's like the universe doesn't want me to reach Dublin. Tralee to Dublin is not even 6 hours by car and it has taken me 6 days now! Come on," she prodded him, "that is funny."
"Many might find this continuous delay of plans annoying," he offered.
She chuckled, "I have been delayed by almost a week now, what's a few more hours? I am simply abiding by what the universe demands."
It dawned on him that the universe, just, might be on his side.
The wheels of Zoya's new trolley bag rattled as she dragged it on the concrete road. Aditya was in tow with his bag. He had called the car rental company informing them of the situation. They had swiftly sent a tow truck from a nearby town. Once Aditya was done with the formalities of handing over the car, the driver of the truck had pointed ahead on the road, saying that there was a bus stop, a couple of miles away, from where they could get a bus to Dublin. He would have offered more help but he was going in the opposite direction.
The couple of miles walk in heeled boots was not something Zoya had planned for. But she wasn't surprised at the turn of events. If something would have gone right and as per plan; that would have surprised her. So instead of being grumpy and spoiling her mood, she had decided to make light of it. For the most part, it was working.
"The timetable shows a frequency of 30mins," Aditya was reading the paper mounted on a board showing the bus-timings. Zoya plopped on the wooden bench.
"It's 2:10pm now," he noted the time on his wrist watch, "The next bus to Dublin is in 20 minutes." He sat on the other edge of the bench, "It should take a couple of hours more. By evening, we'll be there."
"We?" she arched an eyebrow, "You are coming with me till Dublin? Now that I am taking the bus, there isn't any need for you to tag along."
"I..." he stuttered before speaking, "Given your luck, you'll probably not reach your destination. I am just coming along to ensure you reach on time and in one piece." He added a soft laugh but to her, it sounded unconvincing. Was that the only reason he was coming along? Or was it something else? Ivy's words reverberated in her mind. She tried to shut it.
Shaking off the unsettling thoughts, Zoya nodded, craning her neck on either side to spot a caf or a restaurant or even a house. There were sprawling green fields divided by the grey concrete road till her eye could see, but nothing else in sight. She was getting hungry.
On cue at the wordless statement, Aditya fished out a can of pringles from his back-pack. It reminded her of their dinner' when they were stuck in the car. She smiled at the memory, munching on the chips and sipping on water.
Time inched closed to 2:30pm. Aditya's eyes were fixed on the road. "Any minute now," he was muttering, indicating to the arrival of the bus. At quarter to 3, the bus arrived and Zoya and Aditya climbed aboard after shoving their bags in the side compartment of the bus.
The bus was packed with people. They found two seats at the back. Zoya took the window one, leaving the aisle seat for Aditya. Once they had settled in, the bus carried on forward.
Finally... she was on route to Dublin.
Aditya looked at the time on his wristwatch- It was close to 4pm. Another hour and they would be in Dublin. Another hour and he have to bid farewell to Zoya. The thought made his heart heavy. No matter how much he resisted and reasoned, he just couldn't get a hold of his feelings for her, which were evolving with each passing moment.
He shouldn't have driven her till here. He should have taken her to Limerick, as planned. That way he wouldn't have been as entrenched in the deep as he was now. And the fact that Zoya would never reciprocate these feelings, lead to a pang in his heart. His thoughts were getting more and more profound as the bus sped toward the final destination. Try as much as he could, he wasn't able to put a lid on it.
Zoya had fallen asleep again. Her head lolled from one side to another and ultimately rested on his shoulder. The sudden contact jolted him out of his thoughts. He exhaled through his mouth as her hair brushed against his cheek and her face, against the fabric of his shirt.
The proximity aroused a whole new set of feelings in him. He bit his lower lip and breathed in deeply. The universe, which he had earlier thought of as an ally, was certainly toying with him.
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