LOVE – A mystery ~ Part 5

The story so far: Part ~ 1 | Part ~ 2   | Part ~ 3  | Part~4 

The story ahead:

Khushi, Sakshi’s best friend cum confidante cum sister was anything but her name. Her life had been a roller coaster ride till now. At the age of 26 years she had seen enough of life to understand the right and wrong. She was married away by her parents at the age of 21 years to the first best match they could find for her only to be divorced within 6 months of her marriage. In a hurry to get her settled her parents did not find it necessary to conduct any background verification on the prospective groom. The groom’s family had conveniently hidden the depression that guy was suffering from resulting into highly abusive behavior during such attacks. He would abuse her physically and mentally. It took her 6 months to finally decide to not take it any further and call it quits. 

She changed the city and was staying away from her parents since past 5 years as she felt they were responsible for whatever happened in her life. In Sakshi she saw a younger version of herself. She felt this is what I had been before my marriage. She did not want Sakshi to face anything that she had faced in her life. Be it her failed marriage or the politics of the corporate world. She felt deprived of love all her life and wanted to shower all her love on Sakshi. Somewhere deep down her hearts she had accepted Sakshi as her daughter – a daughter which maybe she will never have as she had decided not to marry ever in life. But the woman inside her craved for love sometimes and fantasized about it too. She concluded she was very unlucky to have never found true love in this world.  

Naïve innocent and a gullible emotional fool – that’s what she thought of Sakshi.  When she met her for the first time, she took an instant liking for her and took her under her wings. Just like a protective mother hen she ensured Sakshi was shielded against the big bad world outside. She feared someone would exploit her emotions hurting her in this process. She thought her fears came true when she saw her talking to Avinash on chat so much. Secretly behind Sakshi’s back she had a secret enquiry done on Avinash. On hearing the results she was thoroughly convinced the love that she had been looking for was knocking loudly on Sakshi’s door.  And she did not want Sakshi to lose out on finding true love like her.  

When she read the chat scripts and saw the glow in her eyes she was very happy that Sakshi was already feeling the love. She felt her half work was done. Her next move was to try her best to convince Sakshi to make the first move, but she was disheartened when she saw her discomfort. After that day she left no chance in telling Sakshi to consider this proposal very seriously. To quite an extent she was responsible in pushing Sakshi to fall for Avinash. She was very proud to see the flame of love burning today so brightly in Sakshi’s heart. She knew she had done the right thing for her. 

Little did she know what was in store for them in future? Had she got even the remotest inkling about what was going to happen she would have never done this…… Not even in her wildest dreams would she have wanted to hurt Sakshi beyond repair. But such is the game of destiny. We all are left with no option but to be mute spectators to its play. 

Cheers!!! Everybody screamed in chorus raising their glasses in toast for the success of the company. Their boss Mr. Malhotra had just popped a champagne bottle to begin the celebration. Slowly the crowd started dispersing with some going to the dance floor and others were just nursing their drinks over some casual chit chat. Sakshi and Khushi were standing in a corner waiting for Avinash’s call. All of a sudden Sakshi’s cell phone beeped. It was a message from Avinash.

M @ the parking lot. 2nd gate.

Sakshi and Khushi exchanged glances and hugged each other before Sakshi moved towards the exit door. Within no time she was in the parking lot. She had no difficulty in tracing Avinash as he was waving his hand frantically to get her attention

Hii…iiii…” she exclaimed before hopping onto the passenger seat which he had opened for her.  

Hello….finally we met. Someone’s looking amazing. You know you should keep your hair open more often. It suits you a lot.” He smiled and started driving the car.

He noticed – she thought and said “Thanks…….Where are we going?” 

Shhhh….. Just wait & watch…it’s a surprise. I am sure you will love it.” He replied before she could say anything further. Her heart was beating loudly and she feared Avinash might hear them. But he was busy concentrating on his driving. 'Maybe he doesn't want me to read his thoughts', she concluded and tried to concentrate on the road to find out where they were headed to.

She could not make out anything from the road also as she was new in town and she had not seen most of the places there.  He took a sharp turn and stopped his car in a parking lot of what seemed like a long stretch of road.  After getting down they crossed the road a motioned by him. The sight in front of her eyes left Sakshi awestruck. He had brought her to bandstand. Sakshi had told him so many times that she loved the sea. Truly this was the most beautiful place on earth for her. Her face was lit up with her smile. 

She turned to look at Avinash when she realised they were surrounded by couples - sitting on various rocks, holding hands, strolling around talking, oblivious to the outer world. It did not take her much of a time to realize that this place was kind of a lovers’ point. She started feeling uncomfortable.  But one look at Avinash’s smiling face and she was at ease. Avinash signaled as if asking her to walk. After walking for a while they found an empty bench to sit. 

Just as they were sitting Sakshi gave him the gift saying, “I have got something for you.”  

WOW I love gifts.” Said Avinash and literally tore the wrapping paper to open the gift. “Did you like it?” she asked. Actually she should not have, she realised immediately. His expression said it all. There was a huge smile plastered on his face making it evident that he had loved the gift. “Liked? Arre I loved it. It’s one of the most beautiful gifts I ever got and that too from a very special friend. Thanks so much! Oopss…. I should not have said that.” He said biting his tongue. And both of them broke into peals of laughter. 

Hey...I got something for you too. You know I was very confused what to get for you. Then I thought a book would be the best for a book lover like you. I asked few of my friends and they recommended this…” he said handing over a gift to her.

Oh…thanks so much….you should not have bothered so much…..” suddenly realizing her folly she slapped her forehead and both of them broke into fresh peals of laughter. The book was Chetan Bhagat’s 2 states. Sakshi was trying hard not to read between the lines while opening the cover when she noticed he had written something on the first page. 

Before she could read them, Avinash snatched the book from her hand and screamed, “Nooo……don’t read it now. Read it later when you are alone. Please…’s a request.” He looked so sweet, Sakshi thought had he asked for anything right now I would have given him with a smile. She smiled and closed the book nodding her head in agreement. 

For some time they sat there in silence looking at the moon and the waves. The cool breeze was giving goose bumps to her as she wondered about what might happen next. She thought how much they spoke on the chat and how they were at loss of words today. But then this silence was equally enjoyable, she felt. She wanted the time to stop there. She has never felt so much at peace with herself and her surroundings. She wondered if Avinash was feeling the same way and was looking at him for any hints. Avinash turned to look at her, “Chalo lets go. Or else we will get late and land up in trouble.” Saying this he got up and offered his hand to Sakshi to hold as she got up. Sakshi smiled and accepted his hand to get back.

To be continued....In next Sunday Scribblings

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