17. Friends and fun-Aarav
“I’m sorry”, I murmured, breaking the long silence that had ensued.
“I know you are, I am too”, he sighed, a soft sound escaping his lips.
Silence elapsed again. The sounds of our deep breathing were the only things audible.
“I know you are married now and we can never be what we once were, but...can we still be friends? You were more than just my girlfriend. You were my best friend and I don’t want to lose both of them at the same time”, he confessed and a teary smile took a hold of my face.
My breath hitched with the intense emotion I felt. Since I had momentarily lost the ability to speak, I remained mute; letting the happy emotions flow through me.
“So, can we still be friends?”, he asked, when I still hadn’t replied.
“Yes, yes, a hundred times yes”, I cheered as tears rushed from my eyes. I was happy. So happy.
The friendship option had never crossed my head before, but this way, we could still be together. I could talk to him, dance with him, be with him, if not as lovers than at least as friends.
With my cheeks damp and my lips wide, I chuckled as he cheered in his hospital room.
“Shh! There are other patients”, I warned with a silly smile.
“They can do with some cheer. I have you back in my life and that means celebration”
“You don’t even like celebrations. You are always, ‘Great work, let’s smash the next goal now’ and out of celebratory mood”, I impersonated his soft, sensual voice.
“Hey!”, he responded, “I have celebrated you getting minion socks. I deserve to celebrate getting you back”
“Let’s hang disco balls in our rooms and share our playlists to dance together”, I suggested.
“Should have known you’d go all out”, he chuckled, a deep rumbling sound coming from his throat.
“No drinks for you though, no drinks at all”, I warned.
“I’m not self-destructive, darling”, he cooed.
“Last night begs to differ”, I rolled my eyes.
He sighed, “No drinks for me, got it. But that means no martinis for you as well”
“Like I can get a martini here”, I rolled my eyes, “I haven’t checked the bar counter and I’m not interested in making my drinks so…”
“So, you are going to drink water with me?”, he asked like an excited little puppy.
“I am not the one in probation. Besides, staying in has been hard enough. I’m not giving up booze. Definitely not”
“Locked in a home for four days? Poor you”, he snorted.
“Please, at least I didn’t end up in a hospital”
“You got me there darling”
We talked and laughed, and it felt so good. Time passed and before long it had been more than an hour. I only realized that when Aarav planted himself right in front of me and scared the shit out of me.
I screamed at his face, “Shit! You scared me.”
“Shush”, shushed Aarav and a frown spread on my lips.
“What do you want?”, I queried, slightly pissed.
“Assistants don’t usually take hour-long breaks”, he remarked.
“Fine”, I spat and bringing my attention back to my phone, I said, “I will have to go now. Take rest and I’ll call you later?”
“Great”, he agreed enthusiastically, but for some reason, I found it fake. My brows scrunched in concern and confusion, but Aarav tapping his foot forced me out of my head and into his study room.
As soon as I reached his table, I asked, “What would you like me to do now?”
He raised his left brow and subtly pointed at the file I was working on before.
“You want me to continue this? But that is useless”
“I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but I get to decide what is useful or useless here. So get on with your now”, he ordered in a harsh voice.
“What’s up with his ass now?”, I muttered under my breath and rolled my eyes as I sat down to calculate the pre-calculated accounts.
Do you realize how foolish that sounds?
I grumbled through my work until it was my stomach that grumbled. A huge, loud growl broke the monotonous silence in the room.
With his eyebrows raised, Aarav looked at me and unashamed of natural bodily responses, I stared right back in his hazel orbs.
“Just something”, he raised his index finger and leaned towards the table, “You are allowed to announce when you are hungry, your stomach doesn’t have to do the honours every time”
Suddenly embarrassed, I peeped, “okay” and walked out of the door as fast as I could. I could hear a soft chuckle from behind the doors and the colour on my cheeks darkened.
Well, so maybe I should have just announced when I was hungry, but how was I supposed to do that when I didn’t even realize it myself? My stomach growling was an indicator of hunger for both me and him.
Was that not normal?
Do people know when they are hungry even before their stomach growls?
Making a mental note to start researching this on google, I put reminders on my phone for regular meal timings as I sat on the dining table.
Aarav arrived soon after.
Kamala started placing the dishes she had prepared, and I served myself huge portions of it. Tonight was party night, and this was damage-control. My stomach full to the brim meant less probability of me going overboard with my drinks and staying a little soberer.
“Why are you rushing?”, asked Aarav just as I placed my spoon down.
“Um..?”, I scrunched my brows in confusion.
“You usually eat very slow, but today you finished your plate in almost half the time. I am just curious why”, he shrugged.
“Attentive”, I thought aloud and added, “I didn’t realize I was rushing, to be honest, I am just eager for tonight”
“A virtual party”, I grinned.
“Oh, sounds good”, he nodded.
“Does it? You don’t seem like a person who likes parties, or even the idea of it”
“There you go again”, he sang, “Judging a book by its cover”
“I was… oh…I… was not…”, I stuttered, lost for words.
I had done it again, hadn’t I? Judged a book by its cover. I ought to apologize.
“Sorry”, I clenched my teeth, an awkward smile on my face.
“That’s alright. I do seem that type, don’t I?”, he asked with an easy smile on his face. And goodness gracious, that smile was beautiful.
Right now, I hated him because he kept the world from witnessing this beautiful smile.
His pink plump lips spread apart slightly as they curved upwards and hazel orbs twinkled behind long, dark eyelashes. It looked like he was winking because his left eye scrunched smaller and his whole face went from ‘scrutinizing-cold-stone’ to ‘loving-warm-sunshine’.
It was magical, the difference a small smile made.
Lost in finding proper adjectives to describe his smile, I forgot all about answering his question. Chewing on my inner cheek, I focused on the question and my forehead creased.
“Was that rhetorical?”, I asked aloud and holy mother of god, he chuckled. That man was capable of human emotions and I was shook - to the bone.
“Well, not really. But to answer your question, yes, I do enjoy parties; just not on weekdays”
“Pardon, why the distinction?”, this man was is totally weird. He liked parties only on weekends, like boy, you might not have time to attend parties on weekdays, but how can you not like them on certain days, and enjoy them on the rest?
“Because I have two personalities and I don’t like mixing them”
“Not demeaning the illness, but are you subtly trying to say that you are bipolar because you can’t have two personalities”
“No”, he chuckled, again (today was my lucky day), “I’m not bipolar. What I meant to say is that during workdays I function as a man who loves his work and dedicate all my hours towards it, and on weekends I function as a man who loves his life and wants to celebrate it. This helps me balance my personal and professional life easily”
“Okay”, I drawled the word, confusion etched on my face. I still had no idea how he did that, but to each its own, I guess?
“When does the fun-you activate then? I’d love to meet him”, I questioned after a moment.
“Well, today is Saturday, so technically, it is active now”. Chuckling, he stretched his hand towards me and as my hand shook with his, he smiled, a real full-blown smile showing all his pearly whites and my heart literally paused for a moment.
He continued, his smile still intact, “Nice to meet you, Riya. I’m the fun-Aarav”
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