ARSHI FF - HIT WICKET MY HEART 3.0 - Take 35 -Pg.34(5/11/21) - Page 5

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Posted: 6 months ago

Hellooooo Guysssssssss....

Hope you and your family all are Safe and Sound amidst the rising Covid Tsunami in India. Stay in and Stay Safe โ€“ Guysss!!๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

Here I am with the next update๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ปโœโœโœโœ

Word Count โ€“Short - Medium Length โ€“ 6K Words.

Taking some hours off to just Write this Out finally has truly been my Respite in taking my Mind Off โ€“ Everything Covid! And I truly hope โ€“ that you are able to experience some distraction and entertainment through the Story Too.โค๐Ÿ™๐Ÿค—

Thank you so very much guys* Infinity for all your Support to my Work till now! 

Also, yes this is the First Draft. Please definitely ignore editing/common repition of words errors etc โ€“ since I have not proofread.

And I shall now let you all dive in without Further Delay.

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TAKE 5 โ€“ Nets

Next Day โ€“ 20th Feb, 2019

Lahore, Pakistan

Khan Mansion

Khan Mansion

9:00 PM

Rehaan adjusted himself comfortably on his chair in his study and he leaned back comfortably into it - beginning to switch on his laptop in order to read up on some more work e-mails that needed to be answered before the end of the day with regards to the ongoing arrangements and backend formalities for the Pakistan Super League โ€“ on which some more decisions had been taken in the board meetings today โ€“ as well.

Rehaan adjusted himself comfortably on his chair in his study and he leaned back comfortably into it - beginning to switch on his laptop in order to read up on some more work e-mails that needed to be answered before the end of the day with regard...

As he waits for his Laptop to light up โ€“ his eyes automatically โ€“ fall on the photo frame on his desk momentarily.

It was a happy family picture โ€“ from his son's Raahil's engagement at Home in a small family function before Gazala went in for treatment. His hands etch out on its own accord to pick up the frame and touch his late wife's picture and he admits out loud as if he were talking to her โ€“ " And I am sure you are watching all of this from the heavens above already Gazala โ€“ but I think you will be happy hearing this from me โ€“ given that you would often tell me โ€“ that I should praise Raahil's game and his grit to his face more often that I do. He is doing wonders. Just this morning there was a huge article coverage on his journey and a very positive one. The cricketing sporting fraternity in the counry now believes that he surely has the ability to become one of the greatest batsmen of this young generation. And its not just because he is my son...it's because he's making his own way through like he always did.I am a proud father โ€“ you know. I hope you are having a comfortable time up in the heavens Gazala โ€“ and as much as we miss you...we know you are in a better place...free from all that suffering you went through towards the end..,"and he pauses for a second before he continues โ€“ " I just wish we had found out sooner โ€“ Gazala โ€“ maybe then the medical treatment prior would have helped?maybe I could have done something better on my end..."

It is right then he hears his son's soft supportive voice fall in his ears โ€“ " Abbu...you did everything you could within your reach.We all did. Infact you went out of your way to get the best doctors in the country on board on Ammi's case given that it wasn't advised to fly her to the US in such a delcate stage. But please don't begin to feel guilty. Ammi would hate it in the heavens above....and you know that.."

Rehaan looks up at his son surprised as he asks with a soft nod โ€“ " Raahil...when did you come in? I didn't hear you...,"and he silently gestures his son who was like a friend to him too โ€“ to take his seat in the chair across of him.

Raahil shoots his Abbu a supportive smile โ€“ " maybe because you were so engrossed in your talk with Ammi...,"and he pauses and asks softly his hands reaching out to touch his Ammi's photo in the photoframe too โ€“ " you miss her very much don't you โ€“ Abbu??"

Rehaan admits honestly โ€“ " ofcourse I miss her very much Rehaan โ€“ you know your Ammi and me were like bestest of friends too โ€“ which is why you just spotted me talking to her picture...I do it often...,"and he pauses to ask with a little smile in order to cheer up his son whose eyes had welled up in the memories of his Ammi โ€“ " but wait โ€“ did you hear the bit of my talk with her, where in I was telling her how proud I am off you??"

Raahil gets the gesture his Abbu was trying to execute and so he smiles and nods keeping the photo-frame back on the table in its place โ€“ " yes I did...Ammi would be happy that I did..."

They share a warm chuckle and Rehaan agrees โ€“ " yes..she surely would be...she's probably happily sipping her Garam Chai (Hot tea)up in Jannat (heaven) right now.."

Raahil smiles at that and he adds โ€“ " I agree..,"and he pauses for a second studying his Abbu's frame sipping on some water now and he gathers all his courage deciding to address the topic that had been on his mind โ€“ " Abbu...can I ask you something?? it's been on my mind for months.Ever since Ammi passed...but let's just say โ€“ it took me a little while to come around to this..."

Rehaan nods instantly intrigued โ€“ " Yes...go on..beta...ask me what is it that's on your mind? And I am surprised that it's taken you so long to talk to me about it. I take immense pride in the fact that I have such a great bond with my son that we can talk just about anything.."

Raahil smiles โ€“ " I know Abbu...I take great pride in the same too..you and Ammi both โ€“ were always like my best friends too..."

Rehaan insists now closing his laptop screen shut โ€“ " okay then..so bataiye..aap...mujhe...yeh kaunsi baat hai...jisko karne ke liye..itna time lag gaya..aapko humse?? "( so tell me...beta..what's this topic that's taken you this long to come around...)

Raahil nods and begins with a true fact โ€“ " so Abbu โ€“ you did just say โ€“ that Ammi was one of your bestest friends right??"

Rehaan nods puzzled.

Raahil adds in next cautiously โ€“ " but as great friends as you both were โ€“ she wasn't the love of your life โ€“ was she?? Just like you were not the love of her life?? As in โ€“ you were both in love with two other people โ€“ but just ended up marrying one another instead โ€“ because your families wanted it.And no matter how hard you both tried โ€“ you couldn't get yourselves to fall in love with one another in that deep emotional way โ€“ over the years. Right??? I mean I understand โ€“ one cannot surely force one's self to fall in love...so am I right Abbu?"

That shocks and surprises the hell out of Rehaan. Because he had never expected to hear his son word out the truth to him โ€“ that had been a deep secret in between โ€“ Gazala and Him. They had never spoken about it loud to anyone else. They had never even questioned about their past to one another over the years โ€“ and had always focused on staying content with the fact โ€“ that so what if they had both been deprived of the blessing to marry and spend the lives with the one, they had truly loved. They had been blessed with a second best situation instead โ€“ to be able to make a life โ€“ cemented on the shades of true friendship.

Raahil continues to take the shocked silent surprise his Abbu had zoned into for a couple of seconds. The fact that his face was as pale and white as a sheet too was an answer to his question. He leans forward to place his other hand over his Abbu's โ€“ " It's true isn't it? Abbu?and before you ask me as to how I know this โ€“ I shall tell you anyway โ€“ Ammi talked to me about this โ€“ a couple of nights before she passed..."

That shocks the hell out of Rehaan even more as he looks up at his son puzzled โ€“ " what?? what did you just say?? Gazala talked to you about this??I don't understand...why?? Why would she??"

Raahil admits honestly โ€“ " because it was her last wish to help you seek closure over that wound in your heart. You know what she told me? she said โ€“ Raahil's maybe your Abbu's wound never healed because of the abrupt bitter ways things ended for him with the one he loved and the fact that he never looked back. Or even spoke to her ever again. Or even wished her well for her future โ€“ which is why he could probably never come to peace in his heart?,"and he pauses as he continues to watch his Abbu pale a lot more as he leans back in his chair and Raahil asks softly next โ€“ " maybe Ammi...was right about this too wasn't she? Abbu??,"and when his Abbu stays silent and shocked still he goes onto admit honestly โ€“ " she also did tell me โ€“ that she would often feel at times that she was more luckier on the notes of Love than you..given that atleast she lived all her life with the knowledge that the one she had loved so deeply โ€“ loved her back as much โ€“ and they parted because of death. She believed that it was harder for you because โ€“ probably you'v always lived your life with the ache and pain โ€“ of the fact โ€“ that you could not make it work with the one you loved so dearly prior โ€“ or the fact that maybe the love that was โ€“ was not enough?a reason why it ended the way it did? It's true isn't it Abbu? That the only thing she voiced to you ever in relation to each of your pasts over time โ€“ was this very last bit??

Rehaan composes his shock finally leaning forward to sip on some water and he admits after taking a couple of sips โ€“ " yes...it's true Raahil...,"and he pauses for a second before he adds โ€“ " but that's why I am so surprised that she talked about this to you. Gazala knew very well โ€“ that I'v closed the door to that part of my life long ago and I have never looked back. She probably also knew that I plan to stay pretty adamant about the decision on the same...for the rest of my life...."

Raahil insists now โ€“ " I know..maybe...that is why she talked to me about it? she probably thought that I could convince you otherwise?? I mean โ€“ I know until this point you probably never looked back because of your ethics and loyalty to your marriage to Ammi in the shades of companionship that was โ€“ and because of me perhaps? but Abbu...now ammi is gone...and she really wished that you atleast spoke to this person you were in love with once...even if it's just once...on a cordial note...just wish her well perhaps?"

Rehaan straightens up in his chair as he looks at his son in the eye and admits honestly โ€“ "Don't.Son..please...don't. Don't bring this up in front of me again..."

Raahil asks puzzled โ€“ " why Abbu? Is it because it still hurts you so much when you think of the past? Are you afraid to look back or even see her again because you feel like you will re-live through all that hurt again??"

Rehaan stays silent for a second knowing that his silence will be the answer to his son's question. The answer that everything he had just voiced โ€“ was true too. Even after all these years โ€“ he was afraid to re-live the hurt/or his heartbroken memories.

Raahil clutches on his Abbu's hand in support โ€“ " Abbu...look...I understand...your silence tells me that I was right...it also tells me ...that this as in me talking to you about this right now was such a shock to you...and I respect that if you need time to ponder over the same..but please know..because this was Ammi's last wish for you โ€“ I most surely am not going to let it go โ€“ you can't run away from closure on the past.. ...ok...I mean...whoever she is...don't you feel like you want to wish her well for her life at the least...,"and he asks pushing his luck โ€“ " on that note...what was her name..Abbu??"

As shocked and shaken and surprised as he was by this entire conversation Rehaan couldn't help but feel amused over the straightforward ways in which his son inquired about her name and he admits with a sad smile โ€“ " I appreciate your concern over the same Raahil... and ofcourse...I have always wished her well though...just silently...a wish from the heart for someone's well being doesn't necessarily need to be worded out Raahil...,"and he admits firther honestlyโ€“ "but no...I am sorry...I am afraid..that my lips are sealed on this...I do not wish to talk about this any further...please.."

Raahil shoots his father a look knowing that he couldn't push him more for now โ€“ maybe โ€“ he just needed to take it step by step โ€“ just keep at it slowly and steadily and so he nods and says โ€“ " for now...Abbu...for now..I shall let it be.but you know I am as stubborn as you..if I want to be...so I will keep asking you about the same...bit by bit.....let's see...until when won't you talk?? You know I have other ways to surely dig around things If I want to but I would never do that because I do not want to go behind your back and disrespect you...over the same...so I will just wait..for you to come to terms with this...for sure..."

Rehaan looks at his son amused โ€“ " well...we do have a stubborn gene..now don't we? Let's see โ€“ who can hold the fort up longer son..."

Raahil nods in a determined tone โ€“ " sure..let's see..,"and it is right then Rehaan's phone buzzes with a call and Raahil gestures him to take it gesturing to his Abbu that he will let him be with his work for now.

Rehaan nods โ€“ and watches his son take his leave โ€“ knowing fully well that this was also his way off giving him the space to think over everything he had just said.

But โ€“ as his phone keeps ringing with a work colleagues number โ€“ he takes the call first.

Minutes later โ€“ once he hangs up over the phone โ€“ everything Raahil had just said โ€“ makes his way back to his head โ€“ again.

He looks at the picture of Gazala again as he asks โ€“ " why? Gazala?? Why? Why do you want me to open the gates to the hurt I buried in with so much difficulty anyway? Don't please...don't ask me off this...please...,"and he is compelled to just close his eyes shut for a second as he leans back in his chair.

And the second he does โ€“ Alice's face revolves in front of his eyes on it's own accord.

Alice Jones โ€“ was the name off the wound of the heart that would just never heal. But he hadn't let that name out to anyone.

And as much as Gazala believed โ€“ or Raahil believed now โ€“ it wasn't as if Life hadn't thrown a- Angsty peekaboo chances his way of looking back into the face of the love of his Life. In the sense โ€“ that even if he wasn't the one to make any efforts to know how she was doing โ€“ given his work with cricket even after his retirement - it was impossible for him to not know that she had been appointed as the Head Physio Doctor for the England National Cricket team in 2005 and that she has been working on that position ever since. Just the mere sight off her โ€“ that he'd spot on TV โ€“ in the background at times with the support team in the dug outs everytime England played Pakistan โ€“ was enough a stab of pain into his heart โ€“ leading him to revisit those heartbreaking memories of the ways they parted.

Also the fact โ€“ that even though she was their Head Physio since years โ€“ she never really travelled with the England team to Pakistan on tours and probably just always arranged her deputy doctors to step in โ€“ in her place for that particular tour was enough to give him the hindsight โ€“ that Alice just never wanted to ever cross paths with him too. (which was why she always avoided traveling to Pakistan with the unit?)

The above premise was cemented with another assumption that after completing her medical degrees โ€“ she probably chose to work with local county cricket clubs for a while( a presumption he assumed)- as she was only spotted joining the England National team officially only after his retirement from the game here in Pakistan too. So he'd always thought that he was keeping up with her wish of never wanting to see him again by staying clear off her path in the last decade too by not traveling to see Pakistan's matches live in England โ€“ or in the countries for tournaments whenever the chances off England team being around was high.

He fights back a painful sigh now - nontheless and wishes her all the best silently yet again. It was a normal presumption in his head that- she'd be living a happy settled life with the man she had settled with after โ€“ their break up. Due to cricket being a common factor in between them โ€“ he still had some hindsight into her professional space but he had never made any efforts to know how her personal life turned out โ€“ after.

But once again - that part off him that had always loved her truly โ€“ begins to hope that at least she was able to move on and live the experience of deep emotional love - again. He did really wish that emotionally she had been able to love on โ€“ even though he never really could. The fact that he was stuck in the vicious circle of love, hurt, its loss โ€“ was a problem he would never wish upon anyone โ€“ let alone the one he had truly loved. Gazala was right in her thought when she would say that she was luckier than him on the matters of Love. Atleast she knew that the one she had loved with all her heart passed with the same emotion ruling his heart โ€“ a reason why in her heart Gazala was always loyal to her memories of him and their love in her heart too.

But just like that as that prior wish of wishing Alice well passes through his heart again โ€“ in begins to Flood in the memory of how he first met her โ€“ all those years ago โ€“ after his Nets practice session at the County Cricket Ground in Derby. (Their team was slotted to play a test match against England at the Iconic Trent Bridge Stadium, Nottingham in the next couple of days on that tour. But given that Derby was technically just 25 minutes drive away โ€“ the ECB had organised their Nets sessions at the County Cricket Ground at Derby โ€“ on that day- when he had first met her.)

The memory comes with a lot of ache instantly - threatening to open that lock over his wound again which is why โ€“ he just decides to push it back in his head โ€“ yet again โ€“ and returns his attention to his Laptop โ€“ and he begins to work.

No. Even though Gazala wished for this for him as her last wish โ€“ he couldn't. He just couldn't ever come face to face with Alice Jones ever again? Why? Because even after all these years โ€“ he was so afraid over what that moment would make his Heart feel.

.........................................

20th February โ€“ London

4:00 PM in the Afternoon

Khushi's POV

The minute I take the step out and above the last step leading me out of St John Woods underground tube station โ€“ my phone buzzes with Mum's call.

I grin to myself as I pick up instantly plugging in my earpods into my ears and shoving my phone in my pockets as I answer instantly feeling all light as a feather so much so that I could break into a street dance right here in the middle of my wa...

I grin to myself as I pick up instantly plugging in my earpods into my ears and shoving my phone in my pockets as I answer instantly feeling all light as a feather so much so that I could break into a street dance right here in the middle of my walk to Lord's โ€“ " just stepped out of the tube station Mum...should reach you in ten minutes okay?"

"that's great...honey..which is why I wanted to check on how far off are you. The indoor nets is a wrap for us and I am just in the middle of wrapping up with some last minute stuff...so I should be done in 15- 20 minutes at the most too..,"she chirps happily.

I grin as I continue my walk- " oh by last minute stuff you mean โ€“ enlisting out some last minute muscle relaxing techniques to the team before the games begin tomorrow?"

She chuckles happily โ€“ " yup...the boys are all pumped up and set...I do want them to get the necessary rest for sure..but incase you reach in ten...wait up for me alright? just five-ten minutes at the maximum...text me when you reach too โ€“ I'll hop out faster..."

I say happily โ€“ " no worries Mum โ€“ ill do just that..,"and I say next โ€“ " Mum...but I am going to wait in the parking alright?" I say that because I obviously do not wish to bump into Rob.

"ofcourse honey...I understand....I wouldn't even ask you to come in and wait by the lounge in the reception as you would usually do prior...given that I know you probably don't wana see Rob...,"she pauses and adds in a whisper next โ€“ " on that note โ€“ he did ask about you again today? How you were doing etc?he even asked if I could get you to see him just once..."

I sigh โ€“ " and what did you say Mum??"

She answers instantly โ€“ " the usual baby...that you are okay โ€“ and what's happened between the two of you is your personal equation and I wouldn't want to interfere or pressurize you with your decisions...obviously...and I did tell him that you will see him...if you want too...and only whenever you are ready too..."

I admit โ€“ " yup...Mum...thanks for that...but....god..I'm sorry to put you in this awkward spot though...am working on moving past the grudge..for your sake..for sure..I know you are still going to work with him...so I most surely need to figure out ways to be cordial โ€“ at the least...."

She adds lovingly โ€“ " not at all..baby...I want you to work on it at your very own pace and not in a rush for my sake..alright? okay..I gotta rush now...see you in ten hun..."

I smile to myself โ€“ " yup...see you..,"and we hang up.

Ok.

So.

As you all already guessed - I am on my way to Lord's right now. For as turn of events of the day prior would have it โ€“ Mum totally asked me to drop by there โ€“ first โ€“ about thirty minutes ago - so that we could head into our ritual of a little celebration without further ado at one of our favourite's eateries (which is situated around here) โ€“ so that we could both binge on some good old Shepherd's Pie โ€“ that we both Love.

And I am beyond just delighted to report that the Morning/Afternoon โ€“ has been really good because we are celebrating not just One. But Two Things.

First โ€“ around Noon โ€“ I finally received the email informing me โ€“ that I was granted the 50 percent Scholarship in the tuition fees I had applied for last minute - for my Masters in Animation at Royal College of Arts.( Even though I already had saved up for the same in full โ€“ the fact that my grades prior in my graduation had been excellent just led me to just apply for the same nonetheless โ€“ even though it was a long shot. Because I just felt like โ€“ just incase if I made it โ€“ I would be able to use the rest of my savings towards this huge holiday surprise for Mum with her friends that I am keen to plan for her โ€“ for her bday this year. So yeahhhh โ€“ I am beyond just glad about that.)

But its this Second News that came around 40 minutes ago โ€“ that's got me feeling all elated โ€“ and that's the bit that Mum's reports came in and her scans are all freaking clearrrrrrrrrr!!

Oh boy. Can't even begin to tell you all what a relief that was for both of us and the minute I told Mum about the same โ€“ (because I went in myself to pick up her reports) โ€“ she was all like โ€“ "My..Baby...you gotta come here straight away so that we can head for our little routine celebration...it's a double occasion today...". (She's been more ecstatic about the bit about my scholarship and I'v been more ecstatic about the news of her Scans โ€“ obviously)

So yeah โ€“ now you all know the context.

On that Note โ€“ now that I just relived the Happiness bit in my head with regards to Mum's reports โ€“ I can't help but feel my thoughts wander towards Arnav on reflex โ€“ and the subtle ways in which he was so supportive and understanding โ€“ in those moments in the reading room - yesterday! YUP. Once again - he's been lurking at the back of my Head after our chance encounter yesterday!( In my defense Iv been trying to push his thoughts out but everytime iv done the same my fingers have retaliated by heading to his Instagram again.Ughhhhhhhh.)

Hmmmmm.

But.

The fact that he was so cool, nice, friendly, kind, and supportive again โ€“ was what just made me feel like wanting to give him a little more context into the situation around the conflict he had so easily spotted in my eyes. You know Just to be fair to him. He was a nice guy and I didn't want to come across as rude/abrupt to him again - after our talk yesterday. (Which is why I decided to meet him at the Eye โ€“ tonight. I am thinking to just tell him about Rob maybe? That he was my Ex that I spoke about. He'd surely get the inference as to why I was/am so sceptical about cricketers โ€“ I guess?? It's the part truth anyway. Maya and Sarah agree on the same too.Ofcourse I talked about it all to them last night already!)

I am right on that thought when my phone beeps with a text in my pocket. I take it out. It's a message on our Whtsapp group.

I grin.

It's Maya+ Sarah+ Jack+ Brian telling me โ€“ that they are on their way to join Mum and Me in our little Shepherd's Pie celebration routine too! I pause in my tracks momentarily to quickly text them back โ€“ telling them how they were the best and I love them โ€“ before resuming my walk to the Lord's again.

...................................

Ten Minutes Later

Khushi's POV Continues

At the Parking Lot โ€“ Lord's

Ok.

Then.

Guys.

Maybe โ€“ I should have just met Mum at the Eatery altogether and skipped coming to the Lord's in the first place.

Why?

Because โ€“ I was not prepared to hear everything Brad just said to me. Brad is Rob's best buddy from the team(he -of course knows about us and the two of us also know each other at an individual level as friendly acquaintances โ€“ because of Rob and Mum).They also open together in T20 and ODI formats and I bumped into him here at the parking lot about two minutes ago. And the second thing he asked me โ€“ after the general howdy's was the bit that why would Rob and me โ€“ call our relationship off in the first place? given that everything seemed to be going great at our end โ€“ until two months ago.

And this bit from him has freaking hit me with the realisation โ€“ that at his end โ€“ Rob's probably just told everyone on the team who knew about us that we called it off mutually. He didn't tell anyone that he was the one to dump me โ€“ which also means โ€“ that he's kind off guarding my vulnerable secret too. I mean I did think in my head that he would maybe talk about it to Brad โ€“ for sure. But Brad surely doesn't know โ€“ he just looks puzzled and confused as he continues to gape at me given my โ€“ stunned one minute silence โ€“ following his question.

And now I am just standing here wondering โ€“ if I should at the least โ€“ politely thank Rob for the same. As in for keeping my secret. Not for my sake. But for Mum's. Because to all her work colleagues here she's maintained the front โ€“ that Dad just passed before I was born.

Brad chips in now shrugging casually pulling me outta my thought โ€“ " okay..Khushi...seriously..this is crazy..are you also not going to tell me what happened? I mean all Rob's been saying for the last two months is - we just decided to called it quits โ€“ but hey...I know you both โ€“ I can't help but wonder what happened right??plus โ€“ he keeps talking about you all the time โ€“ which makes it clear to me that he's probably been missing you... so yeah โ€“ then why??"

I answer in the most cryptic way that I can โ€“ " look Brad...I know where your confusion is coming from...for sure...but all I can say is that things just got complicated in between of us..so yeah..we just called it quits...please...don't ask me anything more on the same..please??also please...can you not tell Rob that you bumped into me right now when you go back in? I'v just been avoiding him for a bit..."

Brad nods with a smile and pats my arm in support nonetheless โ€“ " alright...leave me wondering...you two...I won't tell him the same the minute I go back in for I know he will come out to see you instantly maybe...but I might just mention it to him later..."

I nod and I divert the topic to cricket โ€“ " so...all set...Mum was saying that everyone's ready and pumped for the game tomorrow...??"

Brad grins - " we most surely are..,"and I am kind off glad that it is right then we both spot Stacey and Mike (from admin support unit)step out into the parking too and they wave at us and walk towards us and we all fall into a casual chatter โ€“ my eyes eyeing the Exit Door.

Mum โ€“ be here Already!

I just do not want to run into Rob right now.

.................................................

Simultaneously

Arnav's POV

I can't help but Hmm to myself all happy and relaxed โ€“ on my walk out towards the Parking Lot โ€“ grinning.

Nothing like a Good Old Hard Session in the Nets before the match. Obviously.

So.

We all just finished a killer Indoor Nets session and are going to be on our way back to the Hotel โ€“ soon. We had both the Indoor Halls to ourselves for most parts of the afternoon after Noon. But we shifted into just One โ€“ post lunch โ€“ given that England wanted one hall to just finish up with their last minute warm ups too. (The ground was unavailable for the afternoon to both our teams โ€“ given that the ground staff is getting the pitch game ready for tomorrow.)

The rest of the boys are still freshening up in the locker room and the reason why I am headed out first after wrapping/freshening up on my end โ€“ is because I need to call back my elder sister - Anjali. (She's older to Akash and me by five years).I had a missed call from her.The locker room's always a buzz with so much noise and I know that she's going to be at the Hospital โ€“ which is why I need to call her from a quitter spot.

I ring her up.She picks up on the second go and I say โ€“ "Di...what's up?? How's the day going at the hospital?hectic much?"

In comes her happy voice โ€“ " hellooo brother...hectic much as always for sure...but its going great โ€“ as always too! But can I call you back? In fifteen minutes perhaps?about to see the next patient for consultation... I break for a quick bite after.."

"ofcourse Di...no worries...,"and I hang up instantly because I do not want to disturb her in the middle of her consultations.

Hmm.

But now that I have reached the exit โ€“ almost โ€“ I might as well just wait in the parking lot โ€“ itself. The team bus might just pull in any minute too. No point going back to the locker room.

I look at the time on my phone.

It's nearing โ€“ 4:20 PM.

My Self โ€“ Grin widens on its own accord.

Just about 4 Hours 40 minutes remaining until the clock strikes 9:00 PM. I am sure you all know the reason for my grin. I mean - now that I am done with all my intense practice for the day โ€“ I just can't wait for it to be 9:00 PM already โ€“ because that's when I will see Khushi.

Yeah.

She's still been playing โ€“ Hang-Man at the back of my Mind โ€“ obviously โ€“ the second my mind has been off cricket โ€“ all day today too. To be fair enough โ€“ I couldn't stop thinking about her last night too. Also I'v been kind of disappointed that she has listed her profile up on Instagram as private though โ€“ because the only thing I could see when I searched up Khushi Jones โ€“ on Insta last night โ€“ was just a mini picture of her โ€“ in a group of 3 girls!(The other two are probably her friends)

Reminder to Self โ€“ Please ask for her contact number tonight.

I am right on that thought as I finally look up from my phone -stepping out โ€“ shoving it into my pocket. And it is right very second that I pause in my footsteps โ€“ right there in my spot โ€“ in sheer surprise!

Because โ€“ I see Her.

Yup.

I see โ€“ Khushi โ€“ right across from me on the right end of the parking lot leaning against a car โ€“ talking to a couple of people โ€“ I think I recognise in far vision. I think I'v spotted two of the people in the group often โ€“ in the admin support unit of the England team. And the other one โ€“ is Smith for sure. Brad Smith.( He opens alongside โ€“ Wilson โ€“ in T20's and ODI's)

Wait.

What?

First thing is out โ€“ I can't help but wonder - What is she doing here?? And they all seem to be in a casual group chatter โ€“ which means โ€“ that they know each other for sure!

Clouds of Confusion take over my mind.I step back into the Reception before she can look up across or spot me and continue to look and observe by leaning against the glass doors.

Yup.

It surely is Her.

It is not my imagination.

I am right in the middle of that thought when I spot two more people from England's Support team come from the across side of the Hall- talking to each other. I recognise them too obviously. One of them is England's Senior Physio Doctor/Head( I think her name is Dr Alice) and the second one is probably her assistant( I don't know her name). As units - We'v often spotted each other support teams in the games โ€“ dug outs over the years and we'v always been polite and cordial.

They spot me instantly too โ€“ lounging there by the exit door and nod at me from across with a polite smile and I acknowledge and reciprocate the same gesture.

And just when I take out my phone to pretend to be occupied in it rather than just come across as looking out the glass door โ€“ I hear Dr Alice say to the other happily as they are crossing near across of me heading out โ€“ " there she is...my baby...am so stoked for her Mary..given that she got that scholarship...although I think Khushi's surely more stoked given that my scans came clear...either ways calls for double the celebration with our Shepherd's Pie..."

And the minute that registers in my ear โ€“ It rings a bell โ€“ instantly.A reason why head goes into an overdrive and totally fails to register what(Mary) answered Dr Alice back on the way out as the doors closed shut.

And.

Just like that โ€“ The Clouds of Confusion โ€“ Vanish as I dump my phone back in my pockets.

So.

Dr Alice โ€“ is probably Khushi's Mum.

Yup.

I am right.

For I just spot her hugging Khushi close into her tight kissing her head happily and Khushi holding onto her in a tight hug momentarily too before they bid a quick bye to all and Dr Alice gets behind the wheel and Khushi gets into the front seat and they drive away.

And I probably already have an answer to the reason why I spotted that conflict in her eyes - yesterady?She probably was intimidated and overwhelmed by me being who I was โ€“ given her Mum's close work association with one of our competitor's team.

I am distracted in my thought โ€“ as Ved pats on my shoulder and I spot the rest of the boys walking behind towards us and he says โ€“ " come on then..the team bus is about to pull up...too..."

I nod at him and we all gather in a group โ€“ waiting for our bus to pull up so that head back.

And as I pretend to fall into a casual chatter with the boys โ€“ my insides find myself biting back a smile for two reasons as my eyes fall on the clock on the wall behind the reception desk too.

Which two reasons?

First โ€“ being the bit that I am glad that her Mum's Scans are all clear and am feeling happy for her on that scholarship too. Second โ€“ the clock tells me that it's 4:30 PM now โ€“ which means its now only 4 hours 30 minutes until I see that captivating surprised expression on Khushi's face โ€“ when I tell about this moment โ€“ that she was completely oblivious off โ€“ Face to Face โ€“ in Real Time.

Oh Yup.

I am feeling like my usual Impatient self โ€“ as a thought takes over my Neurons โ€“ momentarily!

What thought?

Why? Godaamit.Just why can't it be 9:00 PM Already?

.................................................

TADAAAAAA!!

How was That Guys??

Next Update : Tomorrow Night.

Until Then โ€“ Please take care and Stay Indoors and Safe guys!!!!

Thanks Guys for all the Support and your Precious Time to my Work!

Much Love

Always

Prachi

....................................

Posted: 6 months ago

TAKE 4

Raahil has lost his mother. Did she ever know about Khushi and her mom?

Posted: 6 months ago

So Raahil has found out about his parents? How does he know?

Posted: 6 months ago

Raahil mom seems like a kind soul. She wants Rehaan to have his closure because he can.

Posted: 6 months ago

Arnav headed to the bookstore while distracted with the thoughts of the mystery girl.

Posted: 6 months ago

Lucky run in with Miss SkateBoard at the bookstore.

Posted: 6 months ago

Khushi has only known one parent in her life so she wants to have her mom around as long as she can.

Posted: 6 months ago

He finally has a name to match the face.


Romance 


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