Chapter 28: Adventure Thrills
Ranveer opened his eyes softly as he felt the light hitting his eyes steadily. He shielded his eyes as the powerful light blared his vision and blinked his eyes irritably for a few seconds before he finally managed to push them open. He realized that he was now sleeping on the sofa, a blanket over him and his head on a pillow, even though he distinctly remembered falling asleep with Ishaani in his arms while he was sitting.
He looked around and saw Ishaani sitting on the armchair opposite, a warm smile on her face and staring at him adoringly.
"How long have you been sitting here?"
"From quite some time. Was getting bored, so I thought I'd sit and simply look at you sleeping." Ranveer smiled at her. Ishaani continued. "You were right. Waking up to see your eyes stare into mine is indeed the most beautiful sight I can get up to." Ranveer gave her a radiant look as Ishaani got up and sat by his side. Stroking his hair slowly, she smiled.
"Happy Birthday." Ranveer let her kiss his forehead before he smiled goofily.
"Don't you know the rules of friendship?"
"Oh, I do. But having seen life like the way I have, there is one thing that's certain. 'Thank you' and 'Sorry' play the most important part in any relationship. And it's true indeed." Ishaani shared a meaningful look with him.
"You've made a good point." Ranveer shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly while he looked around the room puzzled.
"What time is it?"
"Yikes! Weren't we supposed to leave from here at 9?" Ishaani shook her head.
"Yes, but I asked the driver to collect us at 11. We did have a pretty tiring day yesterday and a late night. So I wanted you to have a good nap." Ranveer smiled at her as she got up. "So get up and do get ready. I've prepared your breakfast and kept in on the platform. Have it."
"But where are you going?"
"I need to get some formalities sorted out."
Ishaani went down to the hotel reception and met Mr. Kovalski, while he looked happily at her.
"How were the fireworks, ma'am? I hope they were satisfactory."
"Oh they were very good. So were the room arrangements."
"I'm happy that we could be of help to you."
"I've got you the payment for the fireworks and the extra arrangements." Mr. Kovalski accepted the cheque from her happily, while she nodded her head. Ishaani walked around the hotel for some time, admiring some of the antiques placed for display while she mentally made a note to herself to check out some antique pieces for the house back in Vari.
Walking back towards the room, her mind wandered across several unimportant topics, before the lift opened and she made her way to the room. Opening it with the keycard, she entered the room and kept the card on the side table before she heard a loud voice. Keeping silent for a couple of minutes, she realized that Ranveer was talking to someone or rather, arguing with someone.
Ishaani had a strong urge to enter Ranveer's room and see who was he talking to in such a loud voice, but somehow her feet took her towards her own room by instinct.
Ishaani sat on her bed as she could hear Ranveer's muffled voice from across the room and she could sense the pain and exasperation in it and shut her eyes. She could hear Ranveer's voice for another ten minutes before the room fell completely silent.
Ishaani waited silently while she could feel her heart beating irregularly after hearing the pain in Ranveer's eyes. She hated the fact that Ranveer had to have this much pain in his voice on his birthday and couldn't imagine what had got him this worked up.
She simply stared through the window that gave her a dazzling view and sighed. She stared ahead absent-mindedly as her mind drowned itself in the sight ahead of her and she took to staring at the ring that shone brighter than anything else in the room.
She didn't know for how long she stood like that before she heard Ranveer's voice from outside the door. She could sense that there was a false cheerfulness in the way he called out her name and she turned around, a sad smile on her face.
Ranveer saw her expression and immediately knew that something was off. He entered the room and walked up to Ishaani while she stood rooted, staring at him deeply.
"When did you come back? I didn't come to know."
"I came half an hour back."
"Oh." Ishaani saw the false smile fade away from Ranveer's face and with it came a worried look.
"It is okay, Ranveer. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to." Ranveer pursed his lips for a few moments, his eyes turbulent with several emotions. Ishaani took his hand within her own and kissed it.
"I understand. So let it be. When you feel like it, you can tell me."
Ranveer simply stared at her for a couple of moments before he felt himself fall into Ishaani's arms. Ishaani held him firmly while she could feel his body shivering slightly over hers.
She gently stroked Ranveer's hair and he remained stationery in her arms for a couple of minutes before he finally pulled himself away from their embrace.
"I'm sorry, Ishaani."
"For spoiling your mood. I didn't mean to, but it just-"
"Shhh." Ishaani placed a finger over his lip and she stared at him soulfully. "It's alright to be weak at times. It's alright to let your guard down. You've been strong for far too long." Ranveer gave her a painful look. "So don't apologize. If anything, try to come to terms with it. Denial can only help you this much."
Ranveer stared at Ishaani and hugged her once again, this time taking her into his arms. The warm sunlight enveloped them in its warp as they stood there trying to be each other's strength and pillar of support, their hearts beating and bleeding as one. After a few minutes, they separated and Ranveer gave Ishaani a small smile. Ishaani stroked his cheek lovingly and spoke.
"Did you have your breakfast?"
"Go and have it. I've made you a French omelet. You won't find anything better than it." Ranveer smiled as he interlocked his fingers within hers and led her to the kitchen.
Ranveer and Ishaani now entered the premises of Adventuredome, a cheerful smile on their faces. Ranveer's mood that returned back to its original cheerfulness and Ishaani heaved a sigh of relief mentally.
Walking around for some time after sitting in some basic rides, Ranveer and Ishaani came and stood in front of the Canyon Blaster roller coaster. Ranveer and Ishaani stood excitedly in line as they waited for their turn. Ishaani had the brochure of Adventuredome in her hand, the page highlighted with the Canyon Blaster. She read it aloud to Ranveer as they stood in the huge line patiently.
"It features back-to-back vertical loops and corkscrews, and ends with a helix inside the mountain that takes up a large portion of the park. It is proclaimed as the world's largest indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew coaster."
"Oh yeah. There's more. Canyon Blaster features two six-car trains that seat four passengers in two rows per car."
"This sounds pretty impressive."
"This is going to be fun." Ranveer and Ishaani stood in the line for another 15 minutes before their turn finally came and they got the entrance to the ride.
Ranveer and Ishaani both left the ride after nearly 10 minutes, shaken while their head spun dizzily. Ishaani caught on to Ranveer's shoulder as support, feeling as though she could throw up any moment.
Taking a seat by a bench for 15 minutes until they found their heads returning back to normal, Ranveer and Ishaani stared at each other blankly for several minutes before Ishaani initiated the conversation.
"Wow. That ride was..."
"I can still feel my head spinning."
"But it was awesome!" Ranveer and Ishaani gave each other an awestruck look before the former replied.
Five hours later, Ranveer and Ishaani were moving to the fair side of Adventuredome after sitting in El Loco (a custom S&S coaster, took the place of the splash down pool of the Rim Runner ride), Disc'O (a ride where passengers sit on a spinning disk which rides along a half pipe track), Inverter (a ride that spins riders upside down), Sling Shot (a 100' tall free fall ride that shoots riders upwards with 4G's of acceleration) and Road Runner (a Mini-Himalaya that gives a wild trip going forwards and backwards).
Ishaani and Ranveer went hand in hand as they reached the newly-opened pier section of Adventuredome and stared at the several stalls that sat there with various games ready to be played.
Ishaani and Ranveer walked randomly towards a stall when both of them gasped simultaneously. In front of them stood a life-size Iron Man suit and Ranveer stared at it enthralled. Ishaani recoiled slightly and caught Ranveer's arm harder.
"What is that!?"
"Just wait a mo'." Ranveer walked up to the stall owner with Ishaani in tow and asked him with curious interest. "Sir, is this Iron Man suit out here for real?"
"Yes, sir." Ranveer's face brightened up considerably
"Awesome! What is the game about?"
"It's a shooting game sir. There are three box cases with a pyramid of 15 cups each. Knock out all 45 cups in three shots and the suit is yours." Ranveer felt a frown crease his forehead as he mentally did the math.
"Isn't that really difficult?" The shop owner gave smirked.
"That's the catch sir. It's rarely ever possible. Besides, the suit is a rare collectible. Hence the game."
"What if you get 44 cups?"
"No. You need an exact 45. I'll gave you the range limits. 10 cups, you get a Tom and Jerry collectible. From 11-20, a Hulk collectible. From 21-30, a Disney one. From 31-40, an Omnimatrix prototype. And from 41-44, a Donald Duck life size collectible and if you hit the jackpot, the suit is all yours."
Ranveer and Ishaani shared a look. Ranveer looked excited and whispered.
"I'm so getting that suit for myself!" Ishaani smacked his shoulder and rolled her eyes simultaneously.
"Don't be ridiculous! You can't carry such a huge suit around with us. Besides, that things looks frightening."
"Oh c'mon, don't be such a bad sport! It's my birthday. Atleast I can get myself a lovable gift!"
"And how the hell do you think we are going to get this past the customs?"
"Duh, I'll send it out by courier. I'll write Martin the instructions. He'll know what to do."
"Don't get your hopes so high. Getting 45/45 is impossible, unless you're a sharp shooter or something." Ishaani gave him a sarcastic look and Ranveer gritted his teeth.
"Are you challenging me?" Ishaani stuck her tongue out.
"You got it. I'm having my bets on that Donald Duck collectible. It's pretty cute." Ranveer made a mock nauseated face while Ishaani put her hand on her hip.
"Donald Duck? Seriously?"
"Oh please. It's atleast better than that piece of trash." Ranveer gave Ishaani a scandalized look.
"Oh, I did it!"
"Fine! You play yours, I'll play mine." Ishaani gave Ranveer an agonizing look, while Ranveer turned his face away.
"What?! I don't know how to shoot! I've always had terrible aim!"
"Well that's not my problem. If you want the Donald Duck collectible, you have to earn it." Ishaani gave Ranveer a dark look and turned her attention to the shopkeeper.
"Give me the gun." Ishaani's tone was sharp and the owner hurriedly handed her the gun, afraid to get on her wrong side. Ishaani gave Ranveer an angry look before she took aim and fired one shot at every box in rapid succession. A minute later, Ranveer and the owner stared the cups, their mouths hanging open as Ishaani had managed to knock out all the cups, save for two.
"Whoa!" Ishaani gave Ranveer a scowl.
"Yeah, coz imagining your face on the cups was so much fun."
"Hey!" Ranveer snatched the gun from her hand as he waited for the owner to set the cups back again. After 5 minutes, the owner gave a thumbs up to Ranveer.
Ranveer shut his eyes, trying to get his breathing into control before he snapped them opened. Looking at the pyramid of cups keenly, he noticed the mid-spot that he knew was the linchpin for the falling of all of them. Taking a deep breath, he pulled the trigger with a deafening bang and all the cups collapsed. Smiling to himself in satisfaction, he followed the same method with the other two cases with the same result.
If the owner was in shock at Ishaani's shooting capabilities, his reaction on seeing Ranveer’s aim was even more abashed. He caught the counter, his hand on his heart as he stared at Ranveer disbelievingly.
"I don't believe it. I just... don't believe it." Ranveer handed over the gun to the owner and turned his attention towards Ishaani. She gave him an astounded look.
"Did you just do that?"
"Told you." Ranveer winked at her and she looked perturbed for a couple of moments before she looked at the owner. Overcoming his initial shock, the owner looked displeased to say the least. Having lost two of his best collectibles that night, he gave them a surly look as Ranveer carried the Iron Man collectible and Ishaani caught hold of her Donald Duck.
Settling the Iron Man collectible on the front seat of the car and the Donald Duck in the dickey, both of them sat content for a couple of minutes before Ishaani made conversation first.
"How did you do that?"
"Knock off all the cups?" Ranveer felt the colour creep up his face and Ishaani chuckled.
"It's a bit embarrassing."
"I'm not judging you." Ranveer took a deep breath and spoke in one go.
"I know how to shoot." Ishaani took of couple of moments to have the fact registered and looked at him agog.
"As I said, it's pretty embarrassing."
"Oh do go on, already!"
"Last year, I fell into a bit of a depression. I think you know that phase, given that Martin mentioned that instance. After a week of that incident, Martin suggested me to join shooting classes." Ishaani looked surprised.
"I was frustrated. Martin said that it was the best way to release a load from myself. I couldn't come up with anything better and I knew that I wanted to overcome my situation, so I gave it a shot."
"Oh." Ranveer could hear the amazement in Ishaani's voice and smiled coyly.
"Yeah. It was a three-month course. And I was a bloody good student at that. Got a medal and certificate at the end of the course for topping my batch."
"So what, you're a trained shooter now?"
"Something like that." Ishaani burst out into peals of laughter and Ranveer groaned.
"I told you it was embarrassing." Ishaani sobered down and gave him a soft look.
"It's not embarrassing. Honestly speaking, I find it kinda cool."
"You do?" asked Ranveer, astonished.
"Yep, I do." Ranveer and Ishaani smiled at each other as Ishaani laid her head over his shoulder. Ranveer let the weight of his own head fall over hers and spoke lovingly.
"Thank you for making this day so special." Ishaani looked up at him and smiled.
"This is a small keepsake for making my life this special." Ranveer kissed her head and let out a small sigh before both of them fell asleep over each other's shoulder.