I was just going through forum last sunday and found your FF..finally i finished it last night...yes it took me one week...
Chapter 23- Confession/Confusion (Apr-May)
Zoya didn't show up for their meetings the next day, or the day after that. She would come to the site, to the hotel but actively avoided interacting with Aditya. This went on for the better part of the next week.
He knew he had stepped on her toes that day. It wasn't his fight yet he had interfered and affected it adversely. He knew what he had to do now. If only she would give him a chance. But she had been evading him ever since, with success.
A week after their spat, Wasim invited Arjun and Aditya for dinner at their house. Aditya reckoned it would be a good chance for him to finally get Zoya to listen to him.
On Sunday evening, the Siddiquis welcomed the Hooda brothers to their house. Aditya hadn't been to Zoya's house before. Most of the time they had interacted at their resort or at the new site. Situated at a few minutes drive from the town, the Siddiquis owned a huge mansion with sprawling uneven green lawns given the hilly terrain.
Wasim and Roshana welcomed the brothers in the house. Noor soon joined them. The three Siddiquis and Arjun started chatting with Wasim telling them that he wanted to invite them earlier but he had been quite busy. Roshana asked about Anjana and Harsh and Arjun answered their queries.
Aditya tapped his foot impatiently and stole glances at a winding wooden staircase via which Noor had come down. He reckoned Zoya would descend from there too.
Why was she taking so long to come down? Where was she?
Aditya felt a nudge in his arm and realized Arjun was elbowing him. He turned his attention to Arjun who was subtly raising his eyebrows gesturing towards Roshana.
"Umm... I am sorry," he cleared his throat, a bit embarrassed, "You were saying something?"
"I was asking if you liked Musoorie?" she repeated her question, unaware where his attention actually was.
"Yes," he nodded, "It's-."
He stopped speaking abruptly when he saw Zoya walk into the room. Even dressed in a simple beige colored suit, she looked radiant.
Aditya realized he had been staring at her, with her family and his brother waiting for his answer. Their gaze moved forth and back between him and Zoya.
He cleared his throat again, for a second time in a minute, feeling more embarrassed than earlier, "Hi, Zoya." He greeted her.
She gave him a small smile, which he knew was only to prevent raking up their fight from the other day, in front of everyone. She turned to Arjun, "Hi Arjun."
Thankfully for him, no one else had noticed the cold shoulder that she had given him.
Dinner went on smoothly. Aditya stole glances had Zoya who didn't spare him even one look. It reminded him of the time in Ireland when they had fought while trapped in the car and she had behaved in this exact same manner- she was ignoring him.
He needed a chance to talk to her- to explain himself and his actions.
After dinner, Roshana and Zoya headed to kitchen, Noor and Arjun sat on one corner of the huge drawing room, animatedly chatting and Aditya found himself alone with Wasim.
Wasim poured himself a scotch and handed another to Aditya. They were standing near the fireplace.
"How is work progressing?" Wasim asked, taking a sip.
"Good. We'll be sending dad a final report soon."
"Come with me," he said and without waiting for Aditya's answer, guided him to the next room, which was his study and closed the door behind them.
Aditya waited for Wasim to talk.
"I heard about the altercation you had with Yash a week back," Wasim calmly informed him.
It caught Aditya off-guard.
"Small town, people talk," Wasim explained.
"Erm..." Aditya stuttered. Zoya was right. Her father did keep a tab on everything in this town. "It was a..." he racked his mind for a suitable answer. He didn't want to lie to Wasim yet telling the truth was not an option.
"Zoya will not tell me or her Ammi about why she broke up with Yash. She told us the facts but left a lot of blanks and requested us not to prod her," Wasim responded, "I just want to know if this Yash will bring any trouble for her. If these missing parts of her story will put her in some danger."
"No," Aditya responded instantly, "You have nothing to worry about. Zoya has taken care of the situation in the best possible way. She was quite brave and determined in fact."
"She has changed so much after leaving him. She is more active, more confident and so much more happy." Wasim stated with a smile, "She credits you for some of it."
Aditya raised his eyebrow, "Me?"
Wasim nodded, "She speaks very highly of you. She told us how you, a complete stranger then, helped her in a foreign country and even in Mumbai. I have thanked you in the past but I can't help be grateful that you supported her through a difficult time."
"You don't have to thank me, Sir," Aditya addressed Wasim, "Zoya did all of it herself. I just happened to be with her."
"Whatever it is," Wasim walked to the door and opened it, "I am glad she found a friend in you."
Aditya smiled and followed Wasim back to the drawing room. After the small conversation, he felt guiltier with how he had so coldly asked her to leave the other day.
He liked her. They had kissed and he had confessed. What was he doing ruining the one good thing that had happened to him in years?
He noticed that Roshana had joined the others but Zoya was missing. Seeking this as his chance, he excused himself to use the washroom. He spotted Zoya in the kitchen, instructing a staff about desserts. The staff placed 6 small plates of cake and carried it in the drawing room.
Aditya quickly ducked in another room before the staff could spot him. Zoya was walking back to join the others when Aditya grabbed her arm and pulled her to where he was. She almost let out a scream before realizing who it was.
"What are you doing?" she whispered angrily, struggling in his grasp.
"I want to talk to you," he replied in a low voice.
"I don't want to," she responded icily. "Let go off me before someone sees."
Aditya grabbed her other arm and gently pushed her to the wall, pinning her. His face hovered at just inches from her. She narrowed her eyes at him angrily, some of which he could tell was her feigning it.
"I need to talk to you. You've been avoiding me for days now."
"Gee! Have I?" she retorted sarcastically, "I wonder why?"
"Someone once told me I can be a jerk at times," he said with a small smile, hinting to their spat in the car months ago when they were lost.
"Sounds like a perceptive person," her angry face finally softened, just a tad bit.
"She is," he commented, "And since I messed up, I should apologize."
The statement caught her attention and she raised her eyebrows.
"I shouldn't have interfered that day. And I shouldn't have been rude to you later. I am sorry," he said with sincerity.
She considered it for a moment. "Okay."
"Okay?" He asked, "Really?"
She nodded. "I don't do drama, Aditya. If you are really apologetic about the other day, then I believe you. I can see past it. So, are we good?"
"Yes," he nodded, "Lesson learnt. But I sincerely mean it when I say whatever I did that day, however foolish, was not to prove anything. It was because I really care for you."
"I may have overreacted a bit," she acknowledged a moment later. "I am still... learning."
"So am I," he stated. "Guess this was our first major fight."
Zoya laughed which made Aditya chuckle in return.
"Now will you let go off me?" She gestured to his hands, which had caged her between him and the wall.
"I think I am getting comfortable," he replied cheekily.
"Let's see how comfortable you are when someone walks in on us," she teased him.
He had been away for quite too long and so was Zoya. The others would take notice. But being so close with Zoya and away from the noise had made him wish for some more time with her. Alas, his rational mind prevailed and he stepped back.
"After you," he gestured to the door with his hand.
Zoya smiled, shaking her head and exited the room.
Now that he had talked to her, Aditya felt so much lighter, like a weight had been lifted from his chest. He rejoined the party in the drawing feeling rejuvenated. He could swear the cake served for dessert was the sweetest he had ever had. Or maybe it was the fact that Zoya was no longer angry at him. Either way the night turned out to be much more pleasurable than he had anticipated.
On the drive back, Arjun informed Aditya that he was going to Dehradoon tomorrow.
"Again?" Aditya asked releasing the pressure on the accelerator as they descended a slope, "Didn't you go a few days ago? What's up with these frequent trips?"
"I am meeting a friend." Arjun answered vaguely.
"Which friend is this?"
"Umm... you don't know him," Arjun replied.
Aditya didn't pursue the topic but he could tell his younger brother was definitely hiding something.
Once he reached the resort, Aditya freshened up and got ready for bed. He noticed an unread text from Zoya.
Zoya, 11:20pm || Reached your room?
Aditya, 11:24pm || Sometime back. Missing me already? ;)
Zoya, 11:24pm || You wish!
Zoya, 11:25pm || Just wanted to tell you that we won't be having the meeting for the floor plans tomorrow. I have a personal thing. Need the day off.
Aditya, 11:26pm || Personal thing? Is there a boyfriend? Do I need to be worried?
Zoya, 11:26pm || Very funny! It's a school-friend's engagement party. I don't want to go but I have run out of excuses. :(
Aditya, 11:27pm || Anyway Arjun will not be in tomorrow. So no issues. He is going to Dehradoon. Again.
Zoya, 11:28pm || So is Noor. She was my plus 1 for this. She cancelled sometime back.
Zoya, 11:28pm || I don't want to hear any jokes about my sister being my plus one.
Aditya laughed aloud at her text. He was, as she had correctly guessed, going to tease her about it.
Zoya, 11:29pm || Wait! Why don't you be my plus one?
Zoya, 11:30pm || Don't even think of saying 'no.' I'll be at the resort at 4. Party's from 5. We'll sneak back early.
Zoya, 11:30pm || Please?
Aditya, 11:31pm || All right. I will see you tomorrow.
Zoya, 11:31 pm || Thanks! Love you!
Aditya's eyes almost popped out when he read the last part. She had written "Love you." His finger hovered over the reply button for some seconds.
The next moment the iPhone screen lit up and displayed Zoya's name as the caller.
Zoya was freaking out.
She didn't mean to write, "Love you." Yet she had and now she was biting her nails as the phone rang.
He received the call after a few rings.
"Umm... Yeah?" he muttered unsurely at the receiver.
"I didn't mean that," she blurted frantically, "That text. I wasn't thinking. It was like..." there was a pause, "It was like when people say 'take care' and 'goodnight'... you know..."
She was cringing at her own words. That was one of the lamest reason someone could give.
Though more than the reason, she was wondering if those words reflected any of her true feeling? She liked him; that was a fact. Did she love him? There was such a blurry distinction between those two feelings. How could one tell if they had traversed from one to another?
"Aditya? Are you there?" she asked after he took too long to respond.
"Yeah... Yes... I... erm... it's all right," he stammered.
Zoya felt relief and a slight anxiety simultaneously. Was he disappointed that she didn't mean it? Or was he bothered that she did and was now hiding it?
"Umm... okay... I'll meet you tomorrow then," she said.
"Yeah. Goodnight," he responded.
She bid him goodnight and hung up. She was lost in thought when Noor knocked at her door, wanting to borrow a pair of boots for her outing.
"You seem lost," Noor commented, fishing out the pair of shoes she was looking for, from the shoe cabinet. "What is it?"
"I just said something to someone," Zoya began, "And I don't know if I really meant it... Do I..." She bit her lip, leaving the sentence half-complete. There was no way she could tell Noor her dilemma without revealing the who and what of it.
"It's nothing," Zoya ended the topic, "Goodnight."
Noor bade her a goodnight and left Zoya to contemplate her words. A thousand thoughts were swirling in her mind and she spent the better part of the night trying to unravel it. Needless to say, she couldn't sleep a wink that night.
Topic started by ErisedWitch45
Last replied by ErisedWitch45