Sometimes, people drift apart, only to come back together, stronger than ever. *** The sound of footsteps fell on her ears, forcing her to turn around. Dhruv stood a few inches away, a white towel wrapped around his waist. Water dripped from his hair as he ran a hand through it. When his eyes landed on her, they raked up and down her body and his eyebrow lifted while his lips formed a tiny frown. "What are you wearing?" He said tilting his head. He did not look pleased. "Your t-shirt," said Shanaya and rolled her eyes. "And who gave you the permission to wear it?" "You did yourself when you tore my dress into two pieces." His lips curved in delight at her words but returned back to normal soon enough. "Did I? I don't remember it." He shook his head. "Hmm, blame your rusty mind. What was your intent anyway? To have me walking naked around your house?" He pressed his lips together, attempting but failing to keep the amusement out of his voice. "Maybe. That'd be a nice sight, I must admit."View More
Sitting across Shanaya in the cafeteria, Kirti giggled again. After buying all the things from Ikea Shanaya was sure she did not need, Kirti had decided to get some pizza. She took Shanaya to a cafe in a remote corner of the city. It was not grand or fancy but it was cozy—just what Shanaya wanted. Now they had been sitting there for two hours, slowly munching on the slices of pizza they had ordered. Kirti slurped her milkshake before sighing. She began, looking into the distance, “I always knew you were cool. Damn, I wish we did this before. I mean, I admired you from afar. And there were times when I was so jealous of you. But now look at us! We’re going to be family soon.”“I can’t wait to welcome you into the family,” replied Shanaya with a smile. She knew she meant what she said. Kirti had always been dear to her. She was her highschool sweetheart’s little sister after all. Kirti smiled back at her, a gleam in her doe eyes. Then it faded all of a sudden, and she sighed loudly.
Even long after Dhruv had left, Shanaya's heart would not slow down. She paced around the room, taking deep breaths but her hands were trembling slightly, denying her unspoken pleas. She wiped the sweat of her palms over the coarse fabric of her trousers.The lie had come quickly to her mind, but before she realised what an awful one it was, Dhruv had already heard it from her. His reaction on finding out she would be spending time with Kirti had been somewhat unexpected. He did not look happy, but even if he internally opposed the idea, he did a good job of hiding that. “It’s alright,” Shanaya tried to assure herself. Sighing loudly, she slumped back into her chair. “It’s okay. It’s absolutely fine.”She wondered if telling Dhruv the truth would have really been a bad decision because the way she felt after telling that lie was a feeling she did not like. After the events of the previous night, something had changed between them—no matter how much she despised accepting that—in mor
[DHRUV] “We’re going shopping together.” Dhruv could not tell if he was surprised by Shanaya’s words. It felt like an odd thing to do, but his sister was going to be a part of the Arora family, so it only seemed fair that they got to know each other better. He briefly recalled that one time when they were too young, Kirti had cut off some of Shanaya’s hair out of jealousy. They were on the playground—babysitting Kirti and Neil—and Shanaya had been too immersed in recounting every moment of her trip to Paris. Then, his little sister had got her hands on a pair of scissors and chopped off a chunk of Shanaya’s freshly dyed hair. He had only realized it when they were walking back home. He had expected Shanaya to lash out at Kirti since she was that sort of person. But instead, Shanaya had appeared in class the next day, flaunting her new short hair. But he had noticed her puffy eyes, although he could not bring herself to ask her about it. “Dhruv?” he heard Shanaya say softly, dr
Dhruv did not greet her back, instead choosing to silently study her office. He walked around, tracing his fingers over the bookshelves and paintings hung over the walls. His eyes drifted back to her, taking in her outfit. “That,” he said, pointing a finger at her, “does not match the place.” Dhruv was the last person she needed to point it out to her. “Doesn’t it?” she pondered, pretending to be unaffected by his words, and walked to her desk, her handbag slipping off her shoulder. “You look very out of place as well. How did you even get in? Did you lose your way?” “I’m just where I want to be,” Dhruv mumbled, low enough almost to go unheard. Then he skeptically looked at the hoodie he was wearing, his lips twisting into a frown. “You want me back in a suit? Are you hoping to make a client out of me?” “One of those things will be very profitable for me,” she claimed, and noticed the twitch of his lips, but before she could see his smile, he looked away. Suddenly, the truth Shan
“Thank you, Shaheer,” said Shanaya, shakily stepping out of her assistant’s car into the parking lot. She was glad when the words left her mouth; she had not thought her current state could speak. “This is not a part of your job.” And yet you play my driver every other day, she thought to herself sullenly. “No trouble for me,” Shaheer replied, his voice cautious. Locking the car, he fell in easy, slow steps beside her. "Both of your houses are on my way to the office, so it's really no problem at all," he emphasized. He was nice to her all the time, perhaps because he thought that was expected of him. Shanaya had never seen even a hint of irritation, anger, or frustration on his face. She had no clue how real he was with her. There was also this thing she had never managed to get past: her bad luck with driving in general. She had been in a car wreck, failed her driving test twice, and had to send her car for repair every month. Even now with a new car, nothing about that had c
"What was that?" Neil questioned when Shanaya got into the seat and slammed the door shut. But she did not answer him immediately. She took her time to even her breath, looking back for a glance at the retreating man who had made her breathless. “Dhruv was just upset that I was leaving without saying goodbye,” she told Neil, feigning normalcy in her voice. It was the truth and yet, it felt a lot like she was hiding something. “I’ll believe that,” her cousin remarked, turning the key to start the car. They were on the road soon, the car running smoothly at a uniform speed. Trees and street lights sped past them, and Shanaya could not be more to be alone. Neil was not a fool—she knew he understood what was going on. He knew of their past, and from what he had just witnessed, Shanaya was sure he had jumped to a conclusion.She told herself she did not care what Neil thought of her. At that moment, she only cared about the privacy her apartment provided her. But her mind played evil
Long after Nazir had left—complaining about his strict sleeping schedule set by his son Shaheer—Shanaya was still a bystander at the party. She watched as people talked and danced and enjoyed their time. Dhruv had glanced at her several times after he made the announcement, but she quickly averted her gaze. That was silly, and she knew that. But something within her was stopping her from looking at him. Yawning, Shanaya checked the time on her cell phone and noticed it was well past midnight. However, nobody around her looked like they wanted to leave anytime soon. Dhruv’s parents had retired from the gathering, but Dhruv seemed stuck in unwanted conversations—the way he was standing was clear enough to tell how interested he was in talking to the person. Just when she thought she would call Neil once again, he appeared in front of her with a straight face. His hair was still very much in place, and the tiny mirrors on his kurta glistened beneath the chandelier light. “Good, Neil!
When Shanaya returned to the main hall just a few steps behind Dhruv, she did not fail to notice the numerous gazes that followed them. Suddenly, a hush spread over the crowd, and she stumbled in her steps—barely keeping herself from dashing into Dhruv’s back. He turned to see her, his face bearing a puzzled look. “Walk with me?” he offered, and she declined, shaking her head. Dhruv’s eyes lit up immediately, his lips pressing together in amusement. She knew what he was thinking: a while back, she was crying on his chest, and now she could not even walk with him. Shanaya found Nazir and decided she would spend the rest of the party by his side. Neil had, in a way, ditched her. But she could not leave now, even if she wanted to. The old man greeted her with a captious look in his eyes. His gaze moved to someone behind her, and Shanaya realized Dhruv was behind her. “Mr. Malik,” Dhruv said, stepping forward, his voice devoid of emotion. He held his chin high despite being much talle
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