This OS was inspired by episode 107. This story takes place after Vandu receives Kunal's second voice message from the night before. Tara's persistent encouragement had propelled her to send a reply, but her attempt had left her feeling more flustered than ever. Her voice message had revealed more vulnerability than she had intended, leaving her feeling uncharacteristically shy and self-conscious. Eager to dispel the awkwardness caused by her message, Vandu decides to clean Kunal’s office as a nice gesture before his return.
Before Vandu found herself meticulously wiping Kunal's desk, a sequence of events had unfolded, leading to her unexpected choice of attire. It started with an unanticipated downpour, catching Vandu by surprise as she hurriedly made her way to the office in the stormy night. She was hoping to ease Kunal’s stress after his week-long business trip by cleaning his office before his return tomorrow evening.
Drenched and shivering, Vandu sought refuge in his office. Her saree was now soaked through and heavy with rainwater. Her hair, meticulously styled before the unexpected storm, now hung in loose strands, dampened by the rain.
She stood in Kunal's office as the relentless rain battered against the windows and thunder rumbled in the distance. Despite the inclement weather, there was an air of resilience about her, a determination to carry on with her tasks regardless of the unexpected turn of events.
"I know he doesn't ask, but this place gets chaotic when he's away for so long,” said Vandu to herself. “And those files, goodness, they're scattered all over the place. Someone's got to bring order back in here."
Glancing around the room at its disorganization she spotted Kunal's hoodie and sweatpants draped over a chair, an inviting shelter from the chilly air swirling through the room and wet clothes she was wearing. Without a second thought, Vandu reached for the familiar warmth of the hoodie. Her desire to escape the cold overpowered any hesitations about borrowing Kunal's personal items. After all, he wasn’t due back until tomorrow night which would give her enough time to wash the clothes and return them to their original position as if she never touched them.
After changing into the oversized sweatshirt she noticed how the loose fit and warmth provided a sense of security and solace. She was able to secure the sweatpants around her waist by cinching the drawstrings as tightly as possible with a careful knot creating makeshift gathers to keep the sweatpants from slipping down. Despite her efforts, the pants retained their relaxed fit, the excess material pooling slightly around her ankles. However, the makeshift alteration allowed her to wear them more comfortably, ensuring they stayed in place as she continued her tasks in Kunal's office.
Vandu felt a strange yet comforting sense of being enveloped by Kunal’s essence, as though his presence lingered within the fabric of his hoodie. The collar of the sweatshirt held a faint trace of his scent—notes of sandalwood and a subtle hint of his cologne that lingered, almost like a comforting embrace. The fragrance was a mix of professionalism and a hint of spice, a scent she had grown accustomed to but hadn't realized how much she had missed. To her surprise, the comforting aroma of his scent lingered not only on the sweatshirt but around her throughout the entire room, teasing her senses with memories.
A soft sigh escaped Vandu as she paused for a moment, Tara's words echoing in her mind. Maybe, just maybe, there was a part of her that missed Kunal more than she cared to admit. It wasn't just Kunal she missed but the support and presence he offered, especially in moments when she least expected it. His ability to navigate difficult situations, even if their dynamics were often strained, had made her reflect on the value of his support, prompting her to question if his absence had left a gap she hadn't acknowledged before. A bittersweet reminder of his attempts to warn her of Vaibhav’s unfaithfulness and replays of his recent voice messages in her mind revealed the comfort, closeness, and a connection she shared with Kunal that she never thought of until that moment amidst the raging storm outside.
As she continued tidying she was also occasionally talking to herself.
"He probably won't even notice, but it's the little things, isn't it? I'm just doing my part to make his return a tad more pleasant. And who knows, maybe a clean office will make him smile, even just a little."
At that moment Kunal had arrived at the office. He had intentionally kept his early return a secret to everyone in a desire to surprise Tara. Knowing how much Tara missed him from the voice message he received from her and Vandu yesterday, he wanted to make this return extra special for her.
Although Kunal was confident that Vandu had managed his business affairs and ensured everything went smoothly in his absence, he still felt a sense of responsibility towards his work and decided to drop by the office before heading home to surprise Tara.
Kunal rushed into the office relieved to now be covered from the pouring rain. The room was dimly lit, with a soft glow illuminating from underneath his closed office door. The sound of rustling papers and a faint murmur caught his attention. His eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
He opened the door to his office and stood at the doorway, observing from a distance the figure’s silhouette, their posture focused and diligent. Despite the wetness still clinging to his own clothes, Kunal stood there, intrigued by the sight before him.
Could it be Vandu?, he wondered silently, recognizing her dedication even in his absence. The sight of someone taking care of his workspace filled him with a sense of gratitude and admiration. He recognized the meticulousness in the movements, a familiarity in the way things were being arranged, hinting at Vandu's organized touch. Yet, uncertainty lingered as he noticed the person’s clothing, an oversized sweatshirt and pants that looked like his.
Could it be Vandu?, he thought again. This was a sight he had never witnessed before. He had never seen Vandu in Western clothes. He leaned against the doorframe, captivated by the sight of her wet hair, pulled back into a loose bun, glistening under the office lights.
The casual wear highlighted a different side of her, one he found surprisingly alluring. Caught in the moment, Kunal marveled at how effortlessly she carried herself, even in his oversized attire. He couldn't help but acknowledge how cute she looked, a thought that lingered longer than he anticipated, stirring a newfound appreciation for her in a different light. His favorite hoodie hugged her frame, the sleeves rolled up to accommodate her slender arms. Irritation should have been his only emotion, she was wearing his clothes without permission, but an unfamiliar feeling churned within him, taking him by surprise.
Focused on her task with the combination of rain, thunder, and other sounds in the storm, Vandu hadn't heard the soft creak of the office door as Kunal entered. Each roll of thunder muffled any external noise, creating a bubble of isolation around her as she diligently went about cleaning and organizing, oblivious to his presence in the room.
The sporadic flashes of lightning cast fleeting shadows across the room, adding to the dramatic ambiance. They briefly illuminated the figure standing at the doorway—Kunal, observing Vandu engrossed in her work, the storm seemingly shielding his arrival from her attention.
Vandu was engaged in a quiet conversation with herself as she arranged the documents on his desk.
"A cluttered workspace won't help when he returns in addition to discovering all the events that took place while he was away,” said Vandu as she rearranged items on the shelves. “I just want things to be right for him. Maybe a bit of cleaning will ease his stress when he's back from his trip."
Unbeknownst to her, Kunal watched and listened to her murmurs. A soft smile tugged at the corners of his lips as he found her musings oddly delightful. Her voice, usually composed and professional, now carried a hint of vulnerability mixed with determination, a rare glimpse into her inner thoughts.
Lost in her efforts, Vandu only glanced up when a particularly loud clap of thunder rattled the windows. It was then that she noticed Kunal's figure lingering in the entrance, his presence a silent interruption amidst the storm's symphony. The surprise of his arrival while she was engrossed in his office tasks momentarily caught her off guard. She froze in place, feeling a tinge of embarrassment at being discovered wearing his hoodie and sweatpants. Kunal's gaze lingered on her, a mixture of surprise and something else she couldn't quite place.
Suppressing his intrigue, he furrowed his brows in mock frustration, masking his mesmerization with a facade of annoyance. "What are you doing in my clothes, Vandu?" His voice, stern and sharp yet laced with a hint of amusement, broke the tense silence.
Vandu blinked, momentarily thrown off by Kunal's faux irritation, unaware of the subtle nuances in his tone. “Oh, I-I'm sorry, Kunal Sir. I, uh, the storm caught me off guard. I needed something warm." Her voice trailed off as she struggled to find an explanation, her cheeks flushing with embarrassment.
"That's not yours to wear." He fought to maintain his composure, though the sight of her in his attire ignited an unexpected sensation. “That sweatshirt was custom-made for me. It's practically a piece of art."
Vandu looked up at him with a curious expression. "Really, sir? How so? It looks like a regular sweatshirt."
Kunal couldn't help but grin at her sincerity. "But now that you've worn it, it will never be the same."
Vandu nodded in understanding. As always, she completely missed the taunt and sarcasm in his words. "I'll make sure to wash it and return it to you as soon as possible, sir" Her voice wavered, sensing his frustration.
Kunal maintained his facade, nodding slightly. "Hmm, well, I suppose I can let it slide this time. But don’t make it a habit."
After a beat of awkward silence, he cleared his throat. "Anyway, thanks for tidying up the office. I didn't expect you here tonight."
Vandu nodded, relieved by his shift in tone. "You’re welcome, sir. I'll just finish up and leave everything as it was."
As she resumed her tasks, a subtle tension lingered in the air, a mix of unspoken emotions swirling between them. Kunal found himself grateful for her presence, silently appreciating her efforts and thrilled to see her after what felt like eight long weeks.
The storm outside continued to rage, but within the confines of the office, amidst shared glances and exchanged words, a different kind of tempest brewed—an unspoken connection they both felt but weren't ready to confront in the midst of that stormy night.
Edited by Aishwarrior - 2 months ago
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