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Chapter 13 close to my heart

The piercing noise of the alarm clock brought me back to reality. God! It was enough to wake up the whole of New York. Removing my hands from my ears, I turned it off.

With renewed hope I got up from the bed. The first thing I have to do now is completely erase all signs of Nicole from Tyler's life.

She wanted to play dirty by making me doubt Tyler's feelings for me, well so can I. But the thing is how?

I showered with my favourite strawberry flavoured shampoo, no matter how much I grow up, even when I would be sixth years old, it would still be my favourite.

I rummaged through my wardrobe for something chic and fancy. Nicole always presented herself that way, anyone would be crazy not to like her.

I finally found the dress of my dreams. I decided to wear a silk skirt with a black short sleeved laced blouse, and matched it with a pair of black flats. I wonder where these costly and fashionable clothes came into my wardrobe from. I think they were a gift from aunt Sophie, she must have got them for me even before I came here.

I left my hair loose, to fall over my shoulders. I applied eye liner and lip gloss. When I looked one last time at the mirror, the result pleased me.

When I went downstairs, no one was present at the breakfast table. I wonder if both uncle and aunt were so exhausted from last night, that they were still enjoying a sweet slumber or did they already leave for work.

"Good morning, Ell ",Reshma said from my left. "A very good morning to you too, Reshma ",I wished her with a smile.

"Where is uncle John and aunt Sophie? ", I asked. "They left ",she said as a matter of factly. "Do they never get tired, Reshma? ", I was kind of astonished to hear that after a night long party they still had the strength in them to leave for work immediately.

"Believe me, I have been asking that question to myself for the past two years, since I've been working for them. I have just accepted the fact that they are pretty much workaholic.",she said.

"Reshma, I think I'm gonna be late today if I don't hurry. Tyler must be waiting for me at Rachel's shop. I better be there before that idiot comes here searching for me", I said, glancing at my wrist watch.

"Okay, but you'll have to eat something before you go, it's not good to leave home with an empty stomach. Now sit down.",she said, her voice commanding. Which meant that I was in no way to leave without eating up my breakfast. She was actually starting to sound like my mother.

I didn't eat much - there wasn't much time - only just an omelet, the nearest I could put my hands on and gulped down a glass of juice.

"Okay, happy now? ",I asked getting up from the chair.

"Very much. Have a nice day ",she said, gathering the dishes to take them to the kitchen. I felt bad I couldn't help I couldn't help her. Knowing Tyler, I wasn't kidding when I said he would come looking for me.

"You too Reshma ",I told her.

"Anyways, is there something special today? ",she asked eyeing my dress.

"Oh no, I was just messing through the wardrobe and this dress had the bad luck to fall into my hands. I just wanted to try something new ",I smoothly lied. Although I felt really guilty for lying to her there wasn't really an option, if I continued blabbering about Nicole and my insecurities, it would take the whole day.

However, it was evident in her voice she didn't buy it at all. "Really? Or is it to impress someone ",she asked raising one eyebrow.

She really does see right through me, doesn't she? "It's a really long story short story Reshma, I'll explain it to you later on ", I promised her.

"Explain what? ", a sudden voice came from behind us, taking us by surprise. I almost jumped two feet up in the air. "Ready to go? ", Morris asked sounding very cheerful.

"Uh Morris, I actually....I uh",I was actually what, Going to meet my so called boyfriend? Fortunately, I didn't have to stutter and find a reasonable excuse for not letting him accompany me, Reshma came to my rescue.

"You don't have to accompany her anymore Morris. From now on her new friends will pick her up and even drop her home", Reshma said.

"Yeah, okay but......", he was about to complain but Reshma again cut him to it. "But nothing. You have to let her live her life and always not tag along her like her bodyguard ", she said, her words were the final verdict, and just like me, Morris didn't have the courage to complain either.

However, as I was about to rush out of the doors, Reshma grabbed my hand and whispered in my ear," If he loves you, he'll love you just the way you are. If you have to change yourself in order for him to love you then that's not love,it's a condition. And there are no conditions in love"

"I wish it was that simple Reshma.",I said before bolting out of the doors, one more seconds delay and Tyler would be outside the gates.

I will definitely need Reshma's help figuring this huge problem out, namely Nicole. But now is not the time.

So with Reshma's help I did manage to make it to Rachel's shop without anyone following me.

However, I was a bit dejected to not find Tyler outside, waiting for me. Since there was nothing to do except to wait for him I decided to spend some quality time with Rachel, even though it was only yesterday that I have last seen her.

I pushed open the door but with the ringing of the bell above the door came showering down upon me red rose petals.

Before I could understand what was happening, Tyler appeared from the back door of the shop with a bouquet of lavender roses in his hand.

He went down on one knee, a big ear to ear grin spread across my face. "when did you turn into such such a romantic? ", I couldn't suppress the joy building inside my heart. This was sheer bliss.

"Since the day I met you ",he said giving me the flowers, a gentle smile playing at his lips. I wonder why instead of red flowers he gave me lavender ones. I brought them up to my nose to smell them but something shiny fell from the bouquet.

I bent down to pick it up and was astonished when I saw what it was, a heart shaped pendant encrusted in diamonds and fixed to a white gold chain! I gently picked it up in my hands, careful not to cause any damage to it.

"Did you like it? ",he asked standing up, carefully judging by my expression.

"Yes, very much", I replied, still examining the intricate patterns on the pendant.

"Yesterday, I bought it for you from the Tiffany's. I was thinking of gifting you something special and this caught my eye ",he said indicating to the necklace in my hand.

"Tiffany's! But it's too expensive! I can't keep it. Why did you buy it! Maybe you can return it. Yes, please return it ",I said, placing the necklace in his hand. I couldn't accept such an expensive gift. It must have cost him a fortune.

"I can't. I got it for you and if you are not going to wear it then nobody gets to wear it",he said throwing the necklace away, in the direction of the rose flower pots. As if out of a trance I immediately rushed to where he threw the necklace.

"Why did you throw it away? Are you crazy! ",I said, rummaging through the pots to find it. How could he just throw it away! I was really getting irritated at his immaturity. "Don't stand there. Help me find it", I said.

"If I find it would you accept it?",he asked very calmly, as if he would just sway his wand and the necklace will come back to him. But I thought about it for a while, wearing it was better than getting it lost here. And with his help it would be easier to find it, at least it's better than him just standing there with an amused expression on his face. "fine, I'll accept it".

No sooner than the words left my mouth did he open his hand and reveal the necklace inside it. He never threw it away, he just pretended to throw it away. Then why did I fuss so much about it! He just knows how to make me give in, doesn't he?

"Now come on, no making faces. You promised ",he said. "Anyways, you yourself said when someone gives you something from the heart, you shouldn't see the price behind it but how much that person cares for you",he said.

"Help me put it on? ",I said turning around and placing my hair on my left shoulder. I felt his hand brush the skin at my neck, sending tingles all over my body. He was right, this necklace was a prove that we belonged to each other. We completed each other. That we always have a part of each other.

"I'm giving you my heart, keep it carefully", he whispered in my ear, making me blush.

He went through all of this just for me. I once told him that these small things really mattered to the person who loves you truly, who won't see the price behind your gifts but see the how much you care for her. This also proves that I'm almost always there on his mind.

I stood on my tiptoes and cupped his face, placing a soft passionate kiss on his lips. He immediately responded by wrapping his hands around my waist. The kiss lasted for just a few seconds before we broke away. Even though the kiss didn't last long I made it sure to let him know how must everything he did meant to me.

I wrapped my head around his torso. "Thank you. It really means a lot me",I said, burring my head in his chest. "You are welcome, Ari ", he said placing a soft kiss on my head.

"aww, how cute ", Rachel's voice came from behind. All this while I haven't realised that this was Rachel's shop and that she was the living witness to everything that happened between us.

"Yeah thanks for your help Rachel ",Tyler said turning around to face her. I tried to hide myself behind him, and his height was of great help- at least as long as the blush wouldn't leave my cheeks.

"You know she helped me with all this", he said indicating to the rose petals still lying on the floor. I had regained my composure by now. So I tried to appear all happy and cheery even though I was uncomfortable from inside that she had vitnessed our little heartfelt moment.

"This was amazing Rachel ", I said. It was really wonderful how much trouble they have gone through to make these arrangements for me.

"Oh it was all Tyler's idea, he wanted to surprise you. I just helped him choose it for you and with this arrangements", she said.

"You helped him choose the necklace? ", I said, touching the necklace around my neck. I have to say I was a bit disappointed to hear that he didn't choose it himself. The beautiful thought after that necklace really touched my heart and knowing that it wasn't all his hurt me a little.

"No, I said that I was helping him choose a necklace for you. But his eyes fell on this necklace and he immediately shrieked,'won't this look good on my Ari? ' And I had to agree with him, it's beautiful. He explained me the meaning behind giving it to you and it was really deep. I never thought he would care so much for you. You're really lucky.",she said with a smile.

I couldn't suppress the smile forming on my lips. I never imagined he would go to such lengths for me. "When did you plan all of this?", I asked, still shocked. I wonder for long they have been planning this.

"He just suddenly dropped by yesterday evening and said that 'I've a surprise planned for Ari, I need your help doing it ' and we spent the whole evening planning on how to make this day special for you so that you always remember it ",she said.

"Since we couldn't meet all the time, I to give you something which would always remind you of me.", he said, placing a soft kiss on my left temple.

"You are always there on my mind. I don't need a reminder",I said, fiddling with the necklace around my neck. I'll always keep it safe, never lose it. Always wear it around my neck for that way it would be closer to my heart.

"Well then, we have to leave for school. ", he said interlacing our fingers together.

"Thanks again Rachel.", I told her with a smile. Whatever they did for me was overwhelming. Nobody has ever done anything like this for me.

"No problem dear. Your smile is my reward ",she said waving it of with her hand.

"See you later then", Tyler said placing a hand around my waist. "Okay, have a nice day ",she called out after us, as we turned around to leave.

Once out of the door, I asked him, "why did you give me lavender roses instead of red ones?" I wonder if Rachel helped him plan everything then the roses must be her idea. "Lavender roses symbolises love at first sight. They stand for adoration and fascination." She had once told me. I wonder how she knew it was love at first sight, at least for me.

"Actually Rachel suggested that. She said they would match your eyes", he told me. Then he didn't know the actual reason behind it. I wonder what made her think that it was love at first sight, maybe because we were exclusive, and that too so shortly after we've met.

He opened his car door for me to to get inside. However, the smile on my face was wiped clean by fright as suddenly from somewhere some people started shooting at us.



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