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Chapter 12 the party

I wonder if ending a lifelong relation would be worth establishing a new relation. Reshma couldn't be blamed either. I wonder if I could have given up my love for the sake of my parents happiness.

I wonder how much her parents would miss her. I feel pity for them. She should inform them how happy she is, maybe then they would be able to live in peace, knowing that their daughter was perfectly fine.

The door clicked open and Reshma entered. "Your aunt is home. She'll meet you directly downstairs. Maybe you should get ready.", she said, all traces of tears erased from her face.

"Okay", I said with a smile. She chose a black strapless velvet dress from the wardrobe, I never even knew existed. It was a heavily embellished night gown with lace edgings.

"I don't like too much makeup.", I told her after she fixed my hair. It was amazing how she managed to twist and turn my hair to make an intriguing pattern with it.

"Okay just a little foundation. Oh! And you have to apply the eye makeup",she said clapping her hands. "Some of Mrs Roosevelt's special friends might also join us. As a celebration for sealing the deal the Japanese company. And you know they are all from the fashion industry. You have to look at par with them.",she said.

So I had to let her apply all the heavy makeup and even had to put up the fake eyelashes. God! How did I get stuck up here. But I would have to admit this, after Reshma was done I looked like one of those models, straight out of the fashion catalogues.

I was about to close the door behind me, when my eyes fell on the soft toy baby panda, lying on the bed.

"Reshma, if the time ever comes, should I run away with Tyler?",I said, making her halt in her steps.

Not that I wouldn't run away with him if needed, I just couldn't do that to my uncle and aunt. They gave me a new life, indirectly they gave me Tyler as well. They were all that I had left. I wanted them to have a smile on their faces, whenever they think of me, not tears in their eyes.

"Girl, does he never leave your mind? ",she said, turning to face me. "When I get married, I want uncle and aunt to be even more happier than me", I told her.

"Okay, we'll talk about it later. Come on now, everyone is eager to meet you ",she said, grabbing my hand and almost pulling me down the steps.

When I reached downstairs, both uncle John and aunt Sophie were already there, seated on the black leather couch in the living room. Uncle John was in a black tuxedo and aunt Sophie was elegantly dressed in a red floor length dress, which had a slit at the left side. Wow! She indeed belonged to the fashion industry.

Didn't they come home just now! I wonder how they managed to always look so fabulous without much of an effort. Didn't aunt Sophie's flight land just now and hadn't uncle John been busy ,working day and night to solve some difficult case. However it was suprising how there wasn't any hint of tiredness on their faces. They seemed as cheerful as ever.

"Oh Ell you look gorgeous! ",aunt Sophie commented as soon as she saw me. "Our guests will be very happy to meet you, Ell",uncle John said with a smile. "I know this is all too sudden and new for you. You can leave if you don't want to attend it. It's nothing really important. Just a few people from John's department. He promised them a party to celebrate the solving of a very difficult case. And I also promised a party for sealing the deal with the Japanese company ",she made an offer I could hardly refuse.

But on second thoughts, it might hurt their feelings. So instead, I heard myself saying, "You're celebrating your success here, I would definitely like to be a part of your happiness ".

"Okay, but remember you can leave whenever you feel it's getting too crowded ". Too crowded, I wonder how many people are invited.

Just then the door bell rang and uncle John went to answer it. He came back after some time with a bald headed man seemingly in his mid forties. He shook my hand and introduced himself as Robert, and asked me how I was getting along with the New York.

And just like men and women in elegant clothes kept showing up. Some of them clearly told me how very sorry they were for my loss. So I have anticipated it correctly, they all knew about my past. Others just discussed regular things like how unique the colour of my eyes were and like that.

Reshma said it would be very much like a regular party, just with more people in it and all dressed extravagantly. It was nothing of that sort.

It was more or less getting cramped here with people of different ages. She has a lot to explain. She could have just informed me that this would be like this! Maybe she just did it because she didn't want me to hyperventilate or pass out even before the party started.

Some ladies, presumably models, walked through the door like in a fashion paradce, only there wasn't a red carpet. It was just one of the elite parties. People all around with glasses of champagne were talking and laughing, just for the sake of talking and laughing.

"Hey beautiful! ",a voice said from behind me. I didn't have to turn around, I knew who it belonged to. Only one person called me that. He looked like an absolute gentleman in in his tuxedo.

"Hey, I didn't expect to see you here ",I said, the shock evident in my voice. "Well, it turns out that my father works under Commissioner John. He kind of dragged me here, said I shouldn't always keep my head buried under my books and we'll his exact words were 'have a life' ",he explained.

"So are you enjoying the party? ",I asked, acting the perfect host. "No offence, but this party is a total bore",he said, sounding frustrated.

"Can't agree with you more". I was kind of losing my mind trying to make a decent conversation with everyone . "Thank god you are here, it was really getting suffocating with all those rich people here."

"And I would have gone crazy if I didn't find you here",he said chuckling.

"But I'll have to say this, you look absolutely ravishing. The moment my eyes fell on you and I couldn't avert my gaze from your devine face.",he said making me blush.

Thank god, Reshma had already painted my cheeks a visibly shade of pink, enough to not let him notice that I was actually blushing and it wasn't just the makeup.

Suddenly the music stated playing from somewhere. An area at the centre was cleared. Ladies and gentlemen, of different ages and from different professions joined the dance floor.

"May I?",Elliott asked me for a dance. But my mind had drifted off to a certain dark haired, blue eyed boy and the first kiss we shared. "Ell?",Elliott's voice brought me back to reality. Can I have a dance with you? " "yes",I said with a smile.

We twirled to the music for some time. I have to say this, Elliott was a very good dancer. It was actually fun dancing with him. But all this time the music was fast, as it slowed down I felt Elliott pull me closer. Now we were just swaying to the music. I wasn't getting a good feeling about this. He was nervingly close to me.

His face was just inches away from mine. His breath fanning across my cheeks. He was about to lean in when I abruptly moved away. Realising what could have happened if I didn't, I finally heaved a sigh of relief.

"Um, I'm really tired. I think I'll just go back to my room. I'll meet you at school ",I said before turning around. But he grabbed my hand before I could successfully carry out my escape plan.

"I need to talk to you, alone",he said putting emphasis on the word 'alone'. I asked him to follow me upstairs but didn't lead him to my room. Because then I would have no place to shut him out if I have to. Just hoping it wouldn't come to that.

I was already getting a faint idea where he was heading. I just hoped I wouldn't have to hurt his feelings. Because I already gave away my heart to someone else, even if I didn't have the courage to accept it out loud.

"What did you want to say? ",I asked as soon as we were out of earshot. "Ell, since the first day I saw you in the dinner, I was smitten by your beauty.", Wow! He really had a way with words. I wonder if he came practised.

But I pretended dumb, "what do you mean?",I asked. "Ell, I really like you ",he said in one breath. And there, he just said it! I can't deny it anymore now. Should I just jump off the window. It would be better than telling no to his eagerly anticipating face. But the window was at a little distance from there, he might catch me before I could make a run for it.

So I confessed honestly, "Elliott, I have a boyfriend ". And it was like all the colour was drained from his face.

"Do you love him? ",he suddenly asked, taking me by surprise. I didn't know what to say. I haven't told anyone, that I loved Tyler, not even to Tyler.

"I thought so", he said, his voice somehow gaining confidence. A smirk playing at the corner of his lips.

"Anyways now you can add my name to your admirers list",he said turning around, he was out of sight before I could ask him what he was talking about. I followed him down but he just merged with other guests or maybe he had left the party.

Once inside my room, I was already peeling off my dress, but carefully, not to damage it, for it seemed very costly. Taking one last look at myself in the mirror, I washed off my makeup.

I changed into a pair of pj's and a t-shirt and plopped down on my bed. I rethought over all of today's events. But all I could focus on was Tyler. No matter what crossed my mind, everything would inevitably lead me to him.

A smile played on my lips, replacing the frown which had formed from thinking too much about what Elliott meant by "I thought so".

Elliott was definitely a better option than Tyler, if thought carefully. He has the looks (however nothing compared to Tyler), etiquette and manners and the son of one of uncle's very dear friend. But the thing is, I wasn't in love with him. You can't calculate and fall in love after all.

You can choose the best person in the world to be your boyfriend, but you can never force your heart to love him. It will always cringe for that one person whom it is in love with.

Love isn't about finding the perfect partner, but it is about finding the imperfect partner who can make our life perfect. It was very clear, I followed my heart and it chose Tyler. It will always choose him, the boy who taught it to beat again, who taught it to love again.

Why was I even thinking about this? No one could ever take Tyler's place. Unknowingly, he has rooted himself so deep in my heart that no storm could rip him away.

A knock on the door interrupted my thoughts. Reshma peeked, through the slightly ajar door. "Hey, how did it go? ",Reshma asked, closing the door behind her.

"Sit down Reshma, I've something very important to share with you ",I said, almost pulling her down on the bed beside me.

I told her everything about Elliott's confession. She listened very silently to everything that I had to say, as if processing everything very carefully.

"So you're confused between whom to choose? ",she asked after I was done. "No, I already have that answer. And it will always be Tyler, even if the most handsome man confesses his love for me. I just want you to help me get out of this situation ",I told her.

"You are just afraid if the word gets out, the Roosevelts would want you to be with Elliott rather than Tyler ",I just nodded.

"There's only one way to get your uncle's approval in seeing Tyler ",she said. I waited with bated breath to hear the rest.

"He has to change himself ",she said. "change as in?",I asked, confused as to what she wanted to change in him.

"First of all, he has to leave behind the mafia and start all over again. He'll have to work hard, starting from now on, get a nice job and establish a good life. Only then can you hope for having a relationship with him , with everyone's approval",she said as a matter of factly.

"But that's pretty much next to impossible. Isn't there any other way? ", I tried to reason.

"What do you expect, A sudden miracle will happen and change everything for the good? It's your fate, only you have the power to change it ",she said.

"But how? If you had asked me to bring the moon from the sky, it would have been easier ",I complained.

"If he can't do this much for you, how do you expect him to always be there for you. Life will throw many hurdles at you, and you will have to cross them together", she said.

"But I don't even know if he loves me ",I said, the uncertainty clear in my voice.

"It is said that if you wish for something with all of your heart, One day the whole universe will try to help you get it", she said.

"What if he just never loves me back "I almost whispered, my voice pretty inaudible to even myself but she somehow managed to catch it. Tears threatening to spill out of my eyes at the thought.

"You know what Ell, he just needs a support, a hand to drag him from darkness to light. Be that light Ell, show him what it is to be in love and be loved",she said.

"Wow! How do you always manage to give such philosophical answers ",I said, trying to lighten the situation.

"Okay, I have to go attend to the guests downstairs. I just came to check up on you. Anyways have a good night's sleep. Don't stay up too late",she said getting up and heading towards my bedroom door.

"Good night, Reshma", I called after her, a little too lat, after she closed the door behind her. I don't think she heard me.

Change Tyler, yeah, if I could actually do that! In order to love him, if I have to change him, how is it love then. It'll more or less be a deal then and love doesn't really have any conditions. It didn't bother me anymore what he did or who he was.

I didn't fall in love with him because I thought he was perfect, I fell for him inspite of the fact that he was not. I fell in love with all of his flaws and imperfections. I don't even know if he'll ever love me back. I certainly couldn't ask anything of him now. I wonder what will happen if he'll never love me back, would I ever be able to fall in love again.

Then suddenly, Nicole's previous words flashed before my eyes and my mind was eclipsed by doubts. The sight of the card flared like fire in my face. A feeling of jealousy, unknown to me, gripped me; and without thinking, I took a pair of scissors and cut of the card, 'My love-From Nicole'. I tore it to pieces and then flushed it down the toilet. I felt good, relieved.

I was about to lie down on my bed and close my eyes when something clicked in my mind. I picked up my phone and dialed Lily's number. She picked up after four rings.

"Hello?",came her voice for the other side, thick with sleep. She was not the kind of girl to go to sleep that early. I wonder if she was alright.

"Hey it's me, Ell. Sorry to have disturbed you. You didn't come to school today, so I just called to check if you were alright ", it didn't feel right to star the conversation directly with "your partner Aidan asked me to remind you of your incomplete English assignment. " It might seem rude. So even though my eyes were droopy with sleep, I couldn't just cut to the chase and end the call abruptly.

"Oh I just had simple flu. And my over caring parents won't let me go to school.", she said, and I could imagine her rolling her eyes.

"I couldn't find any of you, at school today. I thought all of you have decided to skip school together ", I said, stifling a yawn.

"Rose and Paul do it often. I'm not sure about Faith and Eric, they never miss class"she said sounding doubtful.

"I'm not entirely sure they skipped class, I didn't find them during recess. So I thought that they might not be present ", I said remembering that I skipped Physics class today, so even if they were present I wouldn't have known.

"Them they must be at the library ",she said. I should have thought of it before. They were complete nerds, where would you find them except for in the library, burried under the books upto the eyes.

"Oh and I forgot, Aidan asked me to remind you that some of your English assignment is still to be completed ", I just wanted to end the call as soon as possible and enjoy a sweet slumber.

However the mention of Aidan's name seemed to have poured new energy into her. She continued rambling about how intentionally left the assignment incomplete so that she could spend more time with him.

All this while my eyes were half closed. I pretended to listen to her with just a regular "oh I see" and "mm hm ".

"Ell are you even listening to me", her ear piercing scream brought me back to the world. "yes, I am listening to you", I said moving the phone away from my ears.

"Okay, we'll talk later. You seem like you will fall asleep right now ", she finally said much to my relief.

"Okay, see you tomorrow then", I said yawning, before ending the call. I wonder why I brought up Aidan's name. I should have just pretended to forget about it.

Anyways, the way Lily could not stop gushing about him, I'm left to rethink that maybe she actually doesn't know Aidan has a girlfriend. Or else she couldn't be that dumb to still be head over heels crazy for him.

With the same thought on my mind, I gently laid down on my bed. Closing my eyes I tried to fall asleep but all tiredness seemed to have vanished. Even though I have just met Lily, she seemed like a very good friend to me. I wouldn't want her to ever get hurt.

After too much shifting and turning on my bed finally, exhaustion took over me and I fell asleep.

In my dreams, I was dancing in a party, very much today's situation. Only in place of Elliott I was dancing with Tyler. The song 'so close still so far' was being played in the background. The people around were strangers. But Tyler Tyler was looking for someone in the crowd, he has with me but his attention was somewhere else.

But one familiar face appeared from the crowd of unknown people. It was Nicole, she had a malicious smile on her lips. But it was soon replaced with a heart warming smile as soon as her eyes landed on Tyler. It broke my heart to see Tyler return her smile.

He tried to go to her, I had to restrict him from doing so with all my strength but I was breaking from inside. "You are mine, Tyler. You are mine ",I tried to hold him back. I was on my knees now, begging him to stay with me. Hot tears running down my cheeks.

He turned his attention back to me and pushed me away. "I'm not yours, I'll never be yours", he said extending his hand towards Nicole.

Nicole gracefully interlaced her fingers through his. Both of them turned to face me together. "I told you, he doesn't like girls like you.",Nicole said, her face showing the reality of her words.

"Let's not waste our time with her, she's not worth it ",Tyler said, an expression foreign to me replaced the gentle smile, which I've come to know so well, hatred.

Hand in hand, they slowly walked out of my sight together. And I was left alone to shed lonely tears. The song suddenly started making sense to me, he was always there with me but he was never mine.

I suddenly woke up, covered in sweat. This couldn't be, he was mine. Only mine. I will not let Nicole take him away from me.

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