Chapter 26: The Sensations of Breathtaking Fireworks
Ranveer woke up the next morning, a bright smile on his face. Ever since they had come to Vegas, Ishaani had been heavily hinting on giving him a memorable gift and he could not help but feel giddy in excitement, and curious as his birthday drew closer. Tonight was the eve of his birthday and he felt joyful that he was spending the day with Ishaani.
He got up slowly and made his way to the living room. Ishaani was already seated on the sofa, their bucket list in her hand along with several brochures laid along the table. Ishaani's hair fell on her face in beautiful curtains while the baby pink frock dress she had on made her look more stunning. He simply crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the doorframe, admiring the radiant look the room had with Ishaani's presence while thinking about how he had almost given up on a life without her.
He did not know for how long he stood like that admiring her before Ishaani looked up at him, her face turning into a joyful one at his sight.
"Hey there, beautiful."
"Hi there! For how long have you been standing over there?"
"I don't know really." Ishaani smiled at him and shook her head while Ranveer ran his hands over his hair in embarrassment.
"Had a good night's sleep?"
"Yeah, pretty much." Looking inquisitively at all the brochures as Ishaani began to clear them out from the table, he cleared his throat softly. "What's all that you've got there?"
"Nothing special really. Just brochures from here and there. I was just going through our bucket list and realized that we just have three more places to see - the aquarium, Adventuredome and the hot air balloon ride."
"We'll leave the balloon ride for last."
"Sounds alright to me. So give a quick shot now. Where do you want to go today - Adventuredome or Aquarium?"
"I think we'll go to the Aquarium today. We can go to Adventuredome tomorrow. It'll be fun to celebrate my birthday sitting on rollercoaster rides."
"Whichever way you like it." Ishaani walked over to him and kissed him on his cheek, as Ranveer enveloped her into his arms. Separating herself after some time, Ishaani made her way to her room before turning back and speaking playfully.
"Get dressed quickly. I have a slight change in plan."
Ranveer and Ishaani sat in the jeep as their driver had halted the car in front of the restricted territory. Ranveer and Ishaani quickly jumped down from the jeep, their cameras in tow, as a lion crossed their view. Ishaani looked at it meekly while Ranveer cautiously raised the camera once and snapped. The lion roared at them and Ishaani quivered, but she knew that they were safe, given that a fence was there between the lion and themselves.
Ishaani had decided to bring Ranveer along to see the Natural Sanctuary. Both of them now stood, Ishaani in a loose yellow top and grey half pants and Ranveer in a grey shirt and military three-fourth pant. Both of them had their hats and sunglasses on to protect themselves from the sweltering heat of the day.
After passing through several habitations consisting giraffes, rhinos, hippos, tigers, peacocks, lemurs, elephants and several other animals, Ishaani and Ranveer now headed towards the orchid section that was one-fourth mile away from the sanctuary area. Seeing the different cultivations of fruits and vegetables, the shade of the green house extremely soothing, they next headed towards the Aquarium, a broad smile on their faces.
Ranveer and Ishaani entered their suite, Ranveer yawning widely while Ishaani looked excited.
"Wow, that Aquarium was so beautiful! Worth every penny of the praise it has received. This was certainly an exciting day today."
"The day has just begun." When Ranveer cocked his eyebrows at her, Ishaani simply shrugged her shoulders and gave him a mysterious smile. Instead, Ishaani took the conversation back to the point it started at. "I told you that the sanctuary was a good idea."
"But I really feel exhausted. I think I'm going to call it a night for today. We do have to get up early tomorrow if we want to make it on time for Adventuredome."
"Ranveer, don't you think that you're forgetting something?"
"It's your birthday eve, you idiot! How can you sleep on your birthday eve?!"
"Oh yeah. Damn, it completely skipped out from my mind." Ranveer mentally slapped himself for having forgotten about it. Somehow, he still felt sleep block his senses in spite of his excitement for his birthday.
"So there is no way you are going to sleep."
"Oh alright, alright. Let's do one thing. Why don't we freshen up and change out from these clothes? It's just 8pm anyways. Midnight is still pretty far."
"Yeah, that's sounds alright to me.”
15 minutes later, Ishaani sat on the bed wiping her hair, when Ranveer entered her room. Ishaani smiled and beckoned him towards her while Ranveer obliged. He sat on the bed, staring at Ishaani deeply for a few minutes before his eyes began to droop. Chuckling slowly, Ishaani pulled Ranveer towards her, so that his head was eventually on her lap.
He smiled at her as a common understanding passed between them while he felt Ishaani's fingers stroke his hair and trace light circles on his forehead, her fingers working like a charm. He could only stare at her lovingly before she kissed the bridge of his nose and shut his eyes gently with her hand. Ranveer felt his mind sink into a blissful abyss before sleep finally claimed him.
"Wake up, sleepyhead!"
Ranveer felt something hit his face with full force and he sprang up from the bed in shock, feeling dizzy suddenly due getting up that fast. After a few moments however, he realized that the thing which hit his face was a pillow and he could hear Ishaani laughing at him from somewhere nearby. He turned his head angrily in the direction of her voice, mentally making a note to give her a good piece of his mind before he felt the breath knocked out of him at her sight.
Ishaani stood before him in a sleeveless, body-fitting black top and an above knee-length crisp black-and-white pleat skirt that left a bit of her torso exposed. Her hair was pinned from one side, left open in waves. Ranveer could not have seen anyone looking more beautiful than her in that moment and Ishaani gave him a mesmerizing smile, happy to see the desired effect that her attire had over Ranveer.
"Wow! You look... wow!" Ranveer looked hypnotized and Ishaani threw another pillow at him that managed to make Ranveer snap out of his reverie.
"I gave you three hours for a power nap. Now go get dressed up into something decent. We're running over a tight schedule here."
Ranveer looked confused but obliged nonetheless. He quickly went back to his room and freshened up, his sleep driven away by Ishaani's breathtaking attire. Opening his wardrobe quickly, his eyes fell over a new piece of clothing that lay there, along with a note on it. Opening the note quickly, Ranveer realized that it was written in Ishaani's handwriting.
I hope you like it. Just wear the shirt and trousers and come over to the terrace. I'll be waiting over there for you.
With all my love,
Ranveer removed the plastic jacket from over the hanger and gasped. Inside was a beautiful tuxedo, its linen rich and certainly made of extremely fine and elegant material. Removing the coat, his eyes fell over the shirt and pant and he smiled. He felt a nervous jittering in his stomach as he admired the attire that Ishaani had selected for him. He realized that the attire was tailored so that it fit him perfectly.
Quickly putting on the shirt and pant in a tuck-in fashion, he admired his reflection in the mirror, a happy smile etched over his features for having created the desired effect that he was certain Ishaani had been wanting. He could not understand what Ishaani was up to, but he now felt his excitement mounting steadily.
After 15 minutes, Ranveer made his way to the terrace of the hotel. He had never been up to that part of the place before, which made him feel a giddy happiness in anticipation of what really awaited him. Shutting his eyes for a moment and taking a deep breath, he exited the lift and walked along the corridor before entering the terrace.
Ranveer felt the ground from beneath him his feet skid as his eyes met the staggering beauty in front of him. The terrace was a very cozy one, its view overlooking the whole of Vegas, along with several sets of couches and tables arranged in a symmetrical shape along the sides of the terrace wall. The balcony of the terrace was free of any tables and the railings had light yellow lights glowing from within.
The entire terrace had an in-floor purple lighting, which made the terrace glow beautifully. Ranveer walked on ahead and noticed that the view only kept getting better, with the whole of Vegas before his eyes lit up stunningly with its night lights. Ishaani however, was nowhere to be seen.
Ranveer walked straight ahead towards the balcony, his mind in a bliss. He stared at the view ahead with an overwhelming emotion before he felt a silky whisper in his ear.
"Liking it so far?" Ranveer spun around and saw Ishaani giving him a hard look, a strange fire dancing in her eyes. Ranveer pulled her into his arms and hugged her while she hugged him back.
"I'm really loving it."
"Good, because there's more coming on the way." Ranveer smiled at her admiringly.
"You look gorgeous today."
"You look just as desirable as I'd imagined you to look in this." Ranveer kissed her on her head and Ishaani gently separated herself from their embrace.
Quickly looking at her watch, Ishaani saw that there were still three minutes to midnight. Walking over to one of the couches, she picked up a gun and walked back to Ranveer while the latter gave her an unsure look.
"Do you intend to kill me by any chance?" Ishaani rolled her eyes at him and he chuckled nervously.
"Don't act stupid. You are supposed to be getting a year older, not dumber. Besides, this is a flare gun." Before Ranveer could say anything, Ishaani aimed the gun towards the sky and fired it. Ten seconds later, a shower of green light could be seen in the sky for five seconds before the light disappeared. Ranveer gave Ishaani a bewildered look now.
"Sunny, what are you up to?"
"You'll find out soon enough. Just stand facing the view." Ranveer did as he was told and Ishaani stood by his side, eyeing her watch attentively.
"Ah! Let's start the countdown now. It's now almost a minute to midnight. Just follow my lead when I start counting."
"Alright." Ranveer felt nervous and anxious alike as he saw the excitement on Ishaani's face. Ishaani shut her eyes, making a small prayer in her heart that her surprise would turn out just the way she wanted it. Ishaani opened her eyes and took Ranveer's hand in her own and interlocked her fingers within his own. She gave him an eager smile before speaking with excitement.
"Just keep looking straight. Follow me when I start the count." Ranveer looked ahead towards the magnificent look in front of him as he heard Ishaani say '10'.
"Happy Birthday, Ranveer!" Ishaani pulled Ranveer into a hug and whispered hurriedly and excitedly. "Look up!"
Ranveer turned his attention upwards just in time as a shower of green and golden fireworks broke out in the sky. Ranveer looked amazed while Ishaani had her concentration torn between staring that Ranveer's expressions and the fireworks.
The first display of fireworks barely having gotten over, another show of five separate fireworks hit the sky - a glittering red and blue, a dancing green, a fountain yellow and pink, a shimmering silver and gold and a seven-colored shower of red, blue, green, yellow, orange, pink and purple. Ranveer stared transfixed, his eyes greedily drinking in the sight of the fireworks with a child-like look while Ishaani stared at him happily.
She knew that watching such an extravagant show of fireworks was always a part of Ranveer's fancy, something he had always longed to see as a child, but never got to. Ishaani saw a single tear escape Ranveer's eye unconsciously, and she knew in that moment that Ranveer has just seen his fantasy come true, a fantasy that he thought would never come true just because it was far beyond his reach.
The five different spells of fireworks ended, and with it, another spell hit the air with blue and purple sparks, occurring atleast in 5 different spots in the air before it disappeared, following which another round of the same firework was repeated again. The moment the firework display came to an end, Ranveer turned to look at Ishaani, who was already staring at him transfixed.
"Shhh. Don't get distracted. There's more on the way."
Ranveer’s eyes widened in surprise and Ishaani looked up towards the sky. Ranveer looked up again and saw a red and golden shower of fireworks break out in the air, forming a star-like pattern. Several star-like patterns broke out in different colors after the first one and Ranveer stared at them enthralled. The night fell silent after the final star pattern hit the sky and Ranveer look mesmerized.
"This is so-"
"Wait for it. The climax is yet to come." Ranveer gave Ishaani and overwhelmed look and turned to look at the sky for the third time. The next moment however, Ranveer felt his heart skip a beat as dozens of fireworks hit the sky together,, forming several chrysanthemums, fountains, beehives, brocades, falling leaves, flying fish, peonies and palm trees in succession for two whole minutes.
The night fell calm after the final display and Ranveer hugged Ishaani tightly, his mind buzzing with all the firework beauty.
"This is the best birthday gift you could have ever given me."
"I'm glad that you loved it this much." Ranveer looked at Ishaani passionately, but he noticed that her eyes still had the gleam that indicated the essence of mystery.
"Actually, this was not quite the gift I was hinting at."
"What do you mean?"
"There is still something more."
"Wait, do you mean to say that you are yet to give me my true birthday gift, which is supposed to top the fireworks?"
"Something like that, yes." Ranveer looked pleasantly surprised, his mind too satiated to think about what his other birthday present could be.
"Oh my! But don't you think that you've kind of set the bar way too high for the other gift?"
"Yeah, but I still think that you'll like the other gift better." Ishaani stared at Ranveer confidently while Ranveer could see her eyes shining even more.
"Alright. So tell me more about this other gift of yours."
"Okay. You see, I've been wanting to give you something memorable for your birthday. Something that you'd always remember me by."
"The fireworks did the job just fine." Ishaani chuckled while Ranveer had his arms securely around her waist. Ishaani felt a tingling sensation every time Ranveer’s fingers made innocent contact with skin on the exposed part of her back, feeling an emotion stronger than she could explain. Turning her mind to the task on hand with great difficulty, Ishaani continued.
"They would have sufficed, but I wanted to give you something more personal, you see."
"I wonder what you found me."
"That's the thing again. I didn't. I couldn't find anything that I could buy you as a keepsake or a souvenir."
"So wait, you didn't get me anything?"
"Not really, no."
"So what do you intend to give me then?" Ishaan could see the confusion lurking in Ranvier’s eyes along with something on the lines of a disappointed look. Ishaani smiled at put her arms around his neck.
"I thought of something perfect. Want to give it a guess?" Ranveer gave her a puzzled look as Ishaani looked at him wide-eyed, a mischievous glint in them.
"I can't think what you must have got in store for me."
"Really?" Ishaani tilted her head on one side, as she felt the same tension mount between them again.
"Really." Ranveer still gave her a confused look and she smiled suggestively.
"No problem. You'll know soon enough."
Before Ranveer could speak anything, Ishaani gently pressed her lips against his, a sweet smile on her face. Ranveer secured his hold on her waist and pulled her closer to him, eliminating what little gap they had between them while he lips met her own in a satisfactory grin. Ranveer felt Ishaani savoring his lips with great satisfaction as his hand made fevered contact with her back, sending sent goosebumps up her skin and a heightened excitement through her body.
If Ranveer felt that the fireworks he had seen a few minutes ago had blown his mind apart, he certainly knew now that he had been wrong. A different set of fireworks erupted within him altogether as he now had one hand in Ishaani's hair while his lips made heated contact with her own, their pace getting quicker and hungrier after their gentle beginning while Ishaani's nails traced their way over his shirt in painful pleasure, that only made his touch over her back more intense. Ranveer now felt a new flow of emotions break within him, as he and Ishaani now fought for dominance, Ishaani's fingers locked in his hair and his own over her cheek while they swayed lightly over their blissful encounter.
Separating for air after some time, Ranveer and Ishaani looked at each other, a dazed look on their faces. Ishaani kissed him once more before she whispered.
"Happy Birthday! I hope you liked the gift."
"You were right, this was indeed the best gift of my life." Ranveer smiled at Ishaani as her cheeks turned crimson.
"I'm happy that you liked it." Ishaani bit her lips slowly while Ranveer gave her a loving look.
"Well atleast I did keep up to my word. I told you I'd kiss you in front of the whole of Vari. Well, it's not Vari, but Vegas did just fine." Ishaani laughed at him while he pulled her into his arms once again.
Holding hands, they left the terrace together, their minds still lost of the bliss of their first true kiss, the night etched into their memory forever.