wow...so loving it
This is a beautiful story
Chapter 21 - A Meal for Two. (Apr)
At noon the next day, Zoya went to Aditya's cottage. She found out from the resort manager, earlier in the morning, that Arjun had gone out for the day and Aditya was alone. She figured it was a good chance to clarify about last night.
She had spent a sleepless night going over each detail from the last couple of days. She replayed Aditya asking her out and then the dinner. The more she thought about it, the more she realized that she might have been mistaken. Maybe Noor was right... the thought led to fluttery feeling in her stomach.
And when morning was upon her, she decided she should talk to Aditya. This game of back and forth dual-meaning sentences that they seemed to be playing, needed a conclusion.
And so mustering her courage, and loaded with an excuse, she made her way to his cottage. With every step she took, her courage seemed to diminish more and more. She had set out to ask him upfront if last night was a date. As she pressed the doorbell of the cottage, she gulped and realized it was going to be difficult.
Whether he liked her or not, was something she needed to know but to her, this friendship that they had was important. She didn't want to risk losing it by putting him in a spot. What if he was simply being friendly? What if, after she made her feelings apparent, he would back out?
The thoughts jumbled more and more in her mind and when Aditya opened the door and looked at her in surprise, she knew she wouldn't be able to ask him anything. All her resolve from the morning has vaporized.
"Hi," he said, unable to mask the surprise in his voice, "What are you doing here?"
She lifted her hands and showed him two bags of grocery and vegetables. That was her excuse of visiting him. "I thought we could have lunch together."
He stepped aside to let her in.
Aditya took the bags from her hand and put them on the kitchen slab. "You want me to cook?" He questioned, peering inside the bags, taking stock of the raw vegetables.
Zoya shook her head, "You've cooked for me once, in Ireland. I figured it was my turn."
He raised his eyebrows, "You've learnt how to cook?"
"Yes," she replied. "And I am going to make lunch and you can see for yourself."
He smiled and nodded. "Oh it's just you and me. Arjun's gone out so you don't have to cook for him."
"I know." She replied instantaneously and suddenly stopped.
Aditya wouldn't have noticed anything unusual if she hadn't reacted this way. "You know he is not here?"
"Ermm..." she muttered looking around, "Yeah... the receptionist told me while I was coming in." then added, "Just now."
"Oh. Okay." He replied noticing that Zoya looked as if she had been caught in a lie.
He shrugged the thought away as she focused her attention to prepping the meal. She opened a wooden cupboard to take out utensils and tied her loose hair in a bun.
He leant against the doorframe and observed her fidgeting around in the small kitchenette.
"What?" her voice drew him out of his stance and he realized he was staring at her.
"Ah..." he began, "I was just thinking how much you've changed... from getting involved in the business to cooking..."
"I was such so helpless in Ireland, weren't I?" she remarked while emptying the bag with vegetables, "I didn't know anything. I now understand how annoyed you must have been with me."
"I wasn't annoyed," he corrected her immediately.
"You are a good liar," she teased him. "You found me irritating in the flight when we first met, didn't you?"
He pressed his lips and nodded slowly.
She chuckled, rinsing the tomatoes under the running tap water. She placed the tomatoes on a chopping board and readied a knife.
"My opinion of you changed very quickly though," Aditya added. "As I got to know you."
"Really?" she sliced one tomato in the middle, "Like the night of Feb 13th when we were lost and you blamed everything on me."
Aditya was leaning against the doorframe, with his hands across his chest, watching her work.
"I was being a jerk then as you so politely pointed it out that night," he smirked.
She grinned, "To think that we were only a few minutes walk to Frank and Ivy's B&B yet we spent the night crouched so uncomfortably in the car." She was reminiscing about their time in Ireland and so was he.
"Remember how we had to act like a married couple in front of them?" he chortled, "We do put on a good show."
"We do!" she exclaimed and laughed, "And in the evening on Valentine's day when we kissed-."
She stopped speaking abruptly.
Zoya bit her tongue the moment the words were out. Usually she was quite composed yet sometimes, in front of him, she could say things without a thought. She averted her eyes from Aditya and focused on chopping the tomatoes, hoping that he would change the conversation.
"I remember the kiss," he said and let the words hang between them.
The words caught Zoya by surprise but she didn't look at him. She couldn't. A familiar fluttery feeling had taken hold in her stomach.
"I still think about it," his calm voice broke the silence. Zoya could feel her cheeks growing warm and she knew she must be blushing. Why did she have to mention that kiss... and why was he continuing?
"Ummm..." she trailed off, thinking of a way to change the topic, "I am thinking of making a... gravy... I think I need more tomatoes." She rummaged in the bag and took out more tomatoes.
"Those are enough," Aditya commented and Zoya sighed in relief, grateful that he had moved on from their earlier conversation, "If only you weren't massacring the tomatoes."
She looked at him, and narrowed her eyes, "I happen to be a good cook. At least of this dish."
"The chopping board tells a different story," he gestured toward the vegetables, a hint of smile playing on his lips.
Zoya put one hand on her hip and held out the knife on the other hand, "If you are so good, why don't you show me how to chop?"
Aditya straightened himself and slowly walked toward her. With each step he took, Zoya could feel a change in the air. His eyes had never left her and within seconds, he was standing right in front of her. She had to look up to face him.
The knife was held loosely in her right hand. Zoya assumed Aditya would take it but he did no such thing. Instead he wrapped his right hand around hers, which had the knife. The contact of his skin on hers, made her gulp.
She turned her body slowly to face the kitchen slab where the chopping board lay. Aditya stood behind her, his body lightly touching her back. His grip on her hand tightened a little as he guided her hand down. The knife made contact with the tomato and pierced the peel.
Aditya snaked his left hand around her and placed it lightly on her waist. He had her trapped between his arms. He was so close, she could feel his hot breath on her neck. A heat started emanating in her belly.
His right rand was still clutching hers, moving the knife but there was no focus. Aditya pressed his lips near her ear and whispered, "Zoya." It sent a tingling sensation in her body.
She gulped, "Aditya..." the word came out like a breath, barely audible.
His lips lightly traced the side of her neck till it reached the crook of her neck and shoulder. He kissed her there and Zoya trembled. She pressed her back on his body, as he left a trail of kisses on the sensitive area of her neck.
A moan escaped her lips in response. It seemed to excite him more. He turned her body and she was now facing him. Both his hands were now on her waist and she had pressed her palms against his chest.
His gaze wavered from her eyes to her lips. She knew what was coming and bit her lower lip. Slowly he closed the distance between them and pressed his lips against her.
They had kissed once before, as an act. That was chaste; this was arousing. That didn't hold a candle to what she was experiencing now.
His lips were so soft on hers. She parted her lips and kissed him back; slowly at first and then with ferocity. His tongue had found its way in her mouth and as it caressed her, she revelled at the sensation.
He pulled back some moments later and pressed his forehead on hers. Their hot breath mingled with one another.
Zoya's heartbeat, which had doubled in the past few minutes, was now returning to normalcy.
Aditya finally pulled away to face her. His hands still rested lightly on her waist. "I... I've wanted to kiss you for so long," he confessed.
The statement, the sincerity of it made Zoya shy and she couldn't hold his gaze. She lowered her eyes and bit her lip.
"Zoya..." he softened his tone, "I... I really like you."
She felt like she would melt on spot. Her heart, which had resumed normalcy, was beating rapidly again. When she didn't look up at him, he gently lifted her chin and tilted her head upward.
Finally she made eye contact with him, biting her lower lip harder. He glanced at her lips, "That just makes me want to kiss you again."
This was too much for her. The way he said everything, the intensity of the words- it made her head spin. This was what she was imagining for the past many weeks. Ever since she had left Mumbai, his thoughts predominantly occupied her mind. And now that she was in close proximity to him, after they had kissed, his words were making her giddy with nervousness and excitement, simultaneously.
"I know that's a statement," Aditya spoke removing his hand from her chin, "Though something from your side would be... comforting." He scrunched his eyebrows in anticipation before smiling.
He was teasing her, she realized. Of course he knew what she felt. He could see it on her face. Yet he wanted to hear the words from her.
"What exactly do you want to hear?" she replied, pouting.
He chuckled and took a step back, finally letting space between them. "That I was right. You were butchering the poor tomatoes," he gestured to the chopping board behind her.
She playfully narrowed her eyes at him.
His expression became solemn though the smile didn't leave his face, "Zoya, I... I have liked you since the time we spent in Ireland. Of course you were with-," he paused and she understood he was about to say Yash's name.
He continued not completing the sentence, "And then you're reeling with your-," he paused again.
"You can take his name," she offered, "It doesn't affect me. Not like it used to."
"Yash," he said the name with contempt, "After your break-up with him, I didn't want to impose my feelings on you. I didn't think you'd reciprocate. But over the past few weeks, something between us has changed. I can sense it. I just wanted you to know how I feel..."
The words lingered between them. He was baring it all. The truth. And Zoya knew she too wanted to tell him her truth. Of what she had been thinking, what she had been feeling for him. This was the time.
"Aditya..." she took his name, "I-."
The shrill ring of the intercom interrupted her.
Topic started by ErisedWitch45
Last replied by ErisedWitch45