Alisha then admired the work of her cousin. She looked beautiful in a jade fit and flare dress that reached just above her knees and light make up that brought out her eyes and highlighted her cheeks. She felt good. Really good. A little dressing up always lifted her spirits. She smiled at her reflection and heard a whistling sound behind her.
She was stunned when she found the remaining three girls looking at her in an astonishing way.
“Keep smiling like that sweetheart. Those dimples are going to be the death of some man!” Hooted Minnie.
“Please don’t overreact girls. You all are making me self-conscious now!” Alisha requested. “All of us are wonderfully dressed. Shouldn’t we get going?”
After putting on their footwear, the girls headed for the party.
Alisha was amazed when she saw the venue. A beautiful tent was created just a few feet away from the waves overlapping the shoreline. There were crystal lamps and flower pots decorating the entire tent. On one corner, there was an open bar, and on the other side, the DJ was playing some soft music. In the center was a round table on which the buffet dinner was being served. All of it looked very opulent.
The party had not started yet and there were very few people loitering around.
“This is the specialty of this resort. They host such amazing parties.” Nidhi said.
“Let’s have something to eat before hitting the dance floor.” Arpita suggested.
As they were almost done with dinner, people started flowing in. In no time, the entire place became crowded. Alisha spotted Neil and his friends at the bar. There were a few others whom she recognized as they were staying in the resort. The others were outsiders who had been invited for the party or who had purchased the tickets for the entry.
As soon as the music began, almost everyone headed for the dance floor. However, Alisha took a detour and went out towards the beach. She went by the shacks and got comfortable in one of the sun loungers across them. She sighed and removed all the pins from her hair and left them open. She loved it when they were messed by the sea breeze.
Again, she was lost in gazing at the waves. But she did notice someone coming beside her from the corner of her eye.
“Bored of the party already?” Neil asked.
“I can ask you the same thing,” she said without looking at him.
“No. I’m not bored. I saw you coming, so came to give you company.”
“How considerate of you.”
“Yes, I was right. You are really bored of the party.”
Alisha turned to him, smiled and said, “Parties are not my thing really. I don’t dance and I’m done with my quota of alcohol for the night.”
“Wow. You have a quota for alcohol?” he mused.
“Uh. Yes. Two glasses of wine, three tops. Anything more and I’m a blabbering mess.”
Both of them started laughing at that.
“So what do you do?” Neil asked.
Alisha debated whether to tell him or no, because if she started talking about her work, then she wouldn’t be able to stop and Neil would be running for the hills. And she liked talking to him. Even though this was their second conversation, she felt comfortable around him.
Seeing her confused features, he said, “Well, if you don’t want to, it’s alright.”
“Not that I don’t want to, but I’ll not be able to stop myself once I start. And I don’t want to bore you to death!”
She continued further, “So what brings you here?”
“My friends planned this outing as I’m about to start shooting for a show from next week. It will be difficult to catch up with them due to the erratic working hours.”
“I thought so.”
“That you would be a model or an actor.”
“Well, thank you. I get that most of the times.”
“Cocky much?” she scoffed.
He burst out laughing at that and said, “You are cute. And I love your smile.”
“Oh! So here comes the model charm. Flirty much?”
And both of them hollered in laughter.
Alisha had never felt so good in such a short span of time.
They both talked about their families.
Neil’s parents were in Kolkata and he had an older brother who was married and were staying in Mumbai.
“I am staying at my brother’s place since last year. But I’m also looking for a flat for myself so that I can give them their privacy. They don’t say anything, but I’m sure my odd working hours would be disturbing them in some or the other way.” He said.
“What about your parents?” He asked her.
Her parents were the last thing that she wanted to talk about, but still she managed to say, “They are both investment bankers based in Gurgaon. But they keep travelling around in different countries for different projects. And we meet about once or twice a year.”
“Wow! That sounds great. Travelling around the world. So how many places have you seen with them?”
“None actually. My work keeps me too busy to travel with them.”
She didn’t want to talk about her parents anymore, so she asked him, “Where do you see yourself a year from now?”
He was surprised at the sudden change in topic, but he did not say anything about it.
“I want to be a successful actor. Now its television, but my final goal is Bollywood. And of course apart from that, I want my own house, car and all other luxuries.”
“You did not mention a girlfriend or wife to share your happiness with?” She asked.
“I have my friends and family for that. A girlfriend would make things complicated.”
“You mean you never want to get married?”
“Uh, no. I dint mean that. It’s just that my career is more important now and I don’t need any distractions. What about you?”
“I mean, what about you? Any boyfriend?”
“Not at present. But I want someone who would be serious in pursuing a long term relationship. No casual flings. And who would be dynamic enough to understand my line of work and adjust to it.”
Neil suddenly started rummaging in the sand as if searching for something.
“What happened?” Alisha asked worryingly.
“Nothing, I’m searching for your special someone!” Neil laughed.
Alisha laughed too and started hitting him on his chest. He then backed off and started running on the beach.
Alisha removed her sandals and started running too.
“How mean!” She shouted.
Neil laughed at that and yelled back, “You were so serious back there. Thought would lighten you up a bit!”
Out of breath running, Alisha stopped for some time and then turned to go back towards the tent.
“Hey Alisha, I’m sorry!” Neil said as he came in from behind her.
“It is alright Neil. But I really enjoyed talking to you.”
“Yes, me too.”
With that they parted ways and as Alisha went back to her room, Neil rejoined the party.