Chapter 25: Did We Or Did We Not?
Ishaani opened her eyes slowly as she felt her head throb painfully, aching fit to burst. She could not understand where she was or why her head hurt this much. Her mind felt confused and fuzzy while her vision kept blurring constantly. She shut her eyes and groaned slowly, trying to get a better feel of her surroundings. The only thing that she could make out however was that she was asleep over something funny.
Opening and shutting her eyes quickly as the feeling of nausea overcame her for a few moment, she took a deep breath and opened her eyes fully this time. Her vision was much clearer now, though she felt sluggish. She turned around to get a better look and her elbow jabbed into something while a muffled moan of pain could be heard from somewhere beneath her. Turning herself uncomfortably, her eyes met Ranveer's sleepy ones and the moment seemed to halt.
Ishaani looked at Ranveer in shock, as she saw him asleep bare-chest. She quickly looked at herself and saw that she had a white bathrobe one, instead of her salmon-colored dress from the previous night. Her eyes widened in stunned disbelief and Ranveer's reaction mirrored hers, as they both quickly disentangled themselves from each other.
Ishaani jumped from the bed way too fast and the world spun around her for a couple of minutes. Her head hurt her like several hammers pounding her skull together and she for the life of it could not understand what had happened to make her head hurt so much. She stared at Ranveer and felt her cheeks grow red in embarrassment. How she and Ranveer came to share the same bed was another mystery to her.
"What the heck just happened?"
"My head feels like it's on fire." Ishaani tried her best to glare at Ranveer, even though her eyes wouldn't open more than a squint.
"This is all your fault!" Ranveer let out an indignant huff while Ishaani crossed her arms.
"My fault! How the hell is this my fault?"
"Had you not pissed me off yesterday, I would not have been in the casino and we wouldn't have gotten this drunk and my head wouldn't hurt this bad." Ishaani threw a pillow at Ranveer blindly, the pillow falling way too far away from where Ranveer was standing.
"Yeah right, blame me for everything! Why don't you even blame me for sharing the bed?" Ishaani nodded her head furiously while Ranveer threw his hands up in the air in mock approval.
"Good point. How on Earth did we end up sleeping in your bed anyway?" Ranveer stuttered for a couple of moments while his mind tried to cook up a passable defense on the basis on his memory.
"How do I know?! The last I remember was winning that funny something-or-the-other challenge. My mind seems all fuzzy after that." Ishaani looked at him sourly before she grudgingly spoke.
"The last I remember was cashing our winnings and having them wired to our bank accounts. After that, poof!" Ishaani gestured the point with her hands while Ranveer rolled his eyes at her. After a few minutes of complete silence however, they stared at each other awkwardly before Ishaani initiated conversation once again.
"You don't think that we... that something happened between us now, do you?"
"No, ofcourse not! Don't be absurd." Ranveer looked at Ishaani defiantly even though his tone seemed slightly hesitant.
"Alright, alright. I was just saying. I just get into a bathrobe like that only now, did I?"
"Even you could have done that." Ranveer and Ishaani looked at each other for several minutes before Ranveer spoke, this time his tone confused. "I don't know why, but I have a feeling that you threw up over your dress last night. It's why you changed into the bathrobe."
"Eww... that dress was a favorite of mine! Damn it!" Ranveer gave her a cryptic look while Ishaani looked remorseful at the thought of her dress getting spoilt.
"I warned you last night not to get drinking this much."
"Oh please." Not finding anything else to say as Ishaani found herself staring at Ranveer far more than she should have, she spoke with embarrassment. "And before we initiate any other conversation, please put a shirt on. You're distracting me." Ranveer looked at her awkwardly before quickly making his way up to the wardrobe and pulling out a shirt. Buttoning it up, he turned around to find Ishaani staring at him transfixed.
"I, uh... umm, nothing." Ranveer gave Ishaani a questioning look while the latter simply shrugged her shoulders.
"Go and freshen up. We'll discuss this once we're up for it."
Ishaani nodded her head and gave Ranveer half a smile before leaving the room. Ranveer sighed and twiddled the ring on his finger absent-mindedly before he began setting up his mysteriously messy bedroom back into order.
Ranveer and Ishaani sat in the living room, silently having a late brunch at 5 in the evening. Ranveer was constantly trying to wrack his memory, so as to get a better idea about what happened the previous night, but in vain. The only thing that Ranveer vaguely managed to remember was being in a church-like place, speaking something to someone, but he could not recollect anything.
Ishaani continuously rubbed her temples in the combined effect of the slight hangover that she still had and a strange worry about what exactly had happened between them. There had been palpable tension between them which could not be denied, but Ishaani knew that both of them were still not ready to take their relationship to the other level, in terms of intimacy.
"This is bad. This is really bad." Ishaani looked at Ranveer solemnly, as the latter had his head in his hands.
"How could 5 shots of vodka do this much damage?!" Ishaani gave him an uneasy look as she instinctively spoke.
"I don't think that's the only bit of alcohol you had though. Besides, the two of us could never manage heavy alcohol." Ranveer gave his now-empty plate a brooding look.
"Argh, I hate this uncertainty of not knowing!" Not having managed anything appropriate to console Ranveer with, Ishaani spoke the only thing she was sure she about.
"I think I can safely say that nothing did really happen between us last night. I remember you kind of falling asleep on my shoulders and I brought you to your room and I don't remember anything from then. I think I may have fallen asleep."
"That's not a matter of concern right now." When Ishaani cocked her eyebrow up at him, he rolled his eyes at her. "I mean, I know nothing happened between us in that way, but it's just..."
"What is it?"
"I can't help but push aside the feeling that a big church-like structure was a part of our drunken madness last night." Ishaani gave him a deep look before putting forth her question cautiously.
"Ranveer, do you think that we could have, uh, got married last night?"
"What! Don't be silly." Ranveer did not sound convincing in the least and Ishaani noticed that he had paled considerably.
"I don't know whether you know this, but if Vegas is popular for anything apart from its casinos, its drunk marriages."
"I know that. But I can't remember how on Earth we landed up over there. I mean, I-"
"Ranveer, look at me." Ranveer met gaze with her and Ishaani could see doubt and guilt surface in his eyes. "What's wrong?"
"This is wrong. If we really did get married last night, it's wrong. Getting married like this was the last thing on my list right now, when things between us were going so great."
"Sweetheart, calm down." Ranveer looked surprised at the use of the word 'sweetheart' while Ishaani shook her head in exasperation. "I'm not too happy about our predicament as well, but we can't help it. It's not like this happened on purpose. We were really idiots for behaving this stupidly."
"Ranveer, life isn't perfect. And Lord himself knows that ours isn't. Besides, didn't you once say that we were never meant to be perfect, but instead were always meant to complete each other in every single way that made us perfect?"
"This is precisely the reason why I wanted to change it. I wanted this story to be about us, not an epitaph about love, loyalty and friendship." Ishaani laughed at his phrase and Ranveer gave out a grudging smile.
"I don't think people would invest so much time to read our epitaphs. Not really." Ranveer now took Ishaani's hands within his own as he drowned himself in the beauty of her gaze.
"I'm sorry that I was such a jerk last night." Ishaani took out one hand from his grip and cupped his cheek.
"On any other occasion, I would have taken great pleasure in making this apology worth it, but not day. And since you feel this awful, I have a suggestion for the two of us. We can go to the Registrar's office after some time. It just a few blocks from here. We can manage to scrounge some answers of our own."
Ranveer looked up at her, his eyes sparkling for a moment before confusion clouded his features.
"I don't understand." Ishaani gave him a bewildered look.
"You seem too eerily calm about all this. Here I am, practically going mental in worry and you are-"
"As cool as a cucumber?" Ranveer looked at her suspiciously while Ishaani shrugged her shoulders.
"Well, I wasn't going to say that, but yeah, you get my point."
Ishaani got up from the sofa and went to her room. Ranveer looked momentarily abashed and was about to follow her, when Ishaani returned back from the room, her phone in her hand. Ranveer looked at her quizzically as she handed over the phone to him, a video file open on the screen. Ishaani nodded at him affirmatively.
Ranveer opened the video and instantly realized that the video was from last night. It was shot in what he realized was the Registrar's office, that had the appearance of a cathedral now that he paid closer attention. The video had Ranveer and Ishaani holding hands and giving each other vows of love and togetherness while the Registrar Officer looked surprised, and if Ranveer knew better, a bit emotional as well. Before Ranveer could make a definite view on whether or not they actually married, the video went off.
"Wait. So does that mean we really got married last night?"
"I guess so." Ranveer hid his face in his palms and groaned softly.
"Great, now I feel even more horrible."
"I don't." When Ranveer looked up in her direction, she gave him a firm look. "Ranveer, afterall I've been through, afterall we've been through, I don't believe in certainty anymore. I just want to be with you. I just want to be in love with you. I want my eyes to meet yours the first thing each day I wake up. I want to always keep feeling the weight of your head on my own when you pull me in your arms. I don't want anything else. I just want you. Only you. Yes, I admit that I'm not still ready to become your wife again, because being your friend and lover is so much more fun right now. I never wanted a marriage in Vegas, much less a drunk one of which I have no memory. But hey, who knows? Maybe it did happen for a reason. Or maybe it never really happened. Or it's just destiny. So cheer up, alright? We'll go to the Registrar's office and clear this up. You with me?"
Ranveer stared at her dazed, as though he had great amount of difficulty in processing what Ishaani just spoke to him. After a couple of minutes, when Ranveer didn't respond in any way, Ishaani gently touched Ranveer's hand while the latter snapped out from his thoughts. He gave Ishaani a sad smile and gently pulled her in his arms, his heart beating quickly and his arm's shivering slightly.
"I'm so sorry. I was scared all this time that may be you would never come to terms with this and... I'm sorry for being such a prat. I really am."
"I managed to conquer one demon at long last. But hey, don't let this one get to you, alright? This one's not as difficult to conquer as some of the other ones." Ranveer jerked his head and took a deep breath while Ishaani felt a strong feeling of euphoria burst within her heart.
"I don't know about you, but I think we achieved the third base of our relationship." Ishaani hummed in response before she looked up at him questioningly.
Ranveer and Ishaani stood inside the Registrar's office, waiting for the officer to meet them. The initial wave of anxiety having passed away, Ranveer now sat calmly. Ishaani tapped her feet slowly in anticipation while Ranveer and Ishaani held each other's hand, trying to support the staggering worries of each other.
The officer came out from his cabin and had a surprised look on his face at the sight of both of them.
"Ah, if it isn't the old school love birds again! My, my, to what do I owe this pleasant visit?"
"Uh, if we could talk in your cabin."
"Ofcourse." The officer led them both inside his cabin, which had a very simple, yet elegant look about it. The officer sat behind his desk while he gestured Ranveer and Ishaani to take seats opposite him. Making themselves comfortable, Ranveer looked at the officer. He spoke in a cool, polite tone, camouflaging the strange flutters and jitters that were happening in his stomach.
"Sir, I have an impression that the two of us had been here last night in our embarrassing drunken stupor. What I really did want to know is - did we get married by any chance?" Ranveer and Ishaani waited with baited breath for an answer while the officer smiled at them.
"No." Ranveer and Ishaani both let go of the breath they had been holding unaware before Ishaani muttered slowly, wanting to make sure on more time.
"No. The two of you did not get married." Ranveer and Ishaani both heaved a sigh of relief. Ranveer looked stunned for a couple of moments before he asked with confusion evident in his voice.
"We filmed a video last night while we were reciting all types of vows to each other."
"Oh yes, you gave your phone to my secretary, Stacy, to film the marriage. Somehow, once you'll spoke your vows, the two of you simply hugged each other, or rather slumped over each other and thanked me and my secretary for bearing the two of you, took your phone and left from here. The two of you really surprised me actually, and trust me when I say this, I was pretty much delighted when you people didn't marry. I've been working here for the past 15 years and I've had all sorts of people come here and get married, but you two are something different altogether."
Ranveer and Ishaani gave each other a happy glance while they thanked the officer graciously. Leaving the office, Ranveer and Ishaani hugged each other happily, all their spirits returning back to them at the confirmation of their not being married in such a harried state.
Now that they were certain that they weren't married in such a drunken state, Ranveer and Ishaani eased up considerably, laughing at their drunken antics from what memory could provide them in its and bits.
Dinner was a happy affair as Ranveer and Ishaani dined at one of the restaurants in the hotel. Their cheerful nature from before returned back while they happily discussed plans about visiting the remaining places on their bucket list along with Ranveer's birthday, given that the next day was his birthday eve.
Ranveer and Ishaani decided to go to sleep early, given that they were still drained out from all their exertions from the previous day. They were currently seated on the loveseat in the living room of their suite while Ishaani put her head on his shoulder. Ranveer scooped her in his arms and sighed contentedly.
"Ranveer, can I ask you something?
"Had we have gotten married last night, would you have regretted it?" Ranveer looked at Ishaani deep in thought before he honestly replied.
"It's a yes and no." Ishaani looked at him curiously and he smiled at her.
"No, because being married to you has been the best thing that ever happened to me."
"I'd love to disagree on this." Ranveer looked at Ishaani and laughed.
"Ah, when you see it that way, our marriage has been nothing short of a nightmare. But still, I'd still say that it's the best thing that happened to me." Ishaani smiled at him sweetly while Ranveer returned the smile with equal grace.
And why is it a yes?"
"Regarding that, it's because I've always wanted our marriage to be a memorable moment. The most prized memory of my life. And being married like this with no recollection of it, except for the video where we were slurring more than speaking, I'd certainly have regretted it." Ishaani stared at him hard for several minutes before she relinquished her hold on his shirt.
"You make me fall in love with you every single day, you know that right?" Ranveer kissed her on her forehead and Ishaani sighed.
"We are finally having the days of our life now, aren't we?" Ishaani took his hand in her own and kissed them slowly.
"I've been treasuring them with a lot of care."
Ranveer and Ishaani shared a meaningful look, as both of them got to their feet clumsily. They gave each other one final hug before making their way to their rooms, a content smile on their faces.
While Ranveer fell asleep that night, happy that his plans for the next step of the relationship were not foiled, Ishaani could only focus her mind on the task of how she was going to give Ranveer his birthday gift the next day at midnight.