He Stole from the World, She Stole his Heart

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Chapter 11

Meera loved summer nights. The nice, crisp warm evenings warmed her heart and made it flutter. It reminded her of when her parents were around. Her and Girish spraying each other with their water guns. Their parents joining in their circle of running and chasing each other. By the end of the night, Meera and Girish would be soaked in water.

It was early when Krish visited her on one such night. Meera had just finished washing the dishes and was heading to bed when she heard two thumps in her room. Shrugging it aside, she washed her face and walked to her room. Girish had a sleepover planned with his friends, so she had the whole house to herself. When she went, she found Krish, lying on her bed reading her notebook. She had begun a story, but had no lead so far. Rolling her eyes, she crept to the side of the bed and jumped on him. Startled out of his wits, Krish fell off the bed, with Meera laughing on top of him.

“Got ya Krish” she said between laughs. If it were any other person, Krish would’ve beat them up by now. But no, it was Meera. The girl he’d give anything to.

“Ha ha so funny” he deadpanned. Meera got up from him and helped him up.

“You came early today” She said. Krish nodded.

“I had nothing else to do” he said. “I hope you don’t mind”.

“No! Not at all” Meera said quickly, making her funny hand gestures. Krish laughed.

“So, what did you do today”? He asked. Meera shrugged.

“Nothing much. Just hung out with my friends” she said.

“Really? Anika still hates me”? Krish asked. Meera laughed.

“Not really. Neither do Abhi and Rajkumar” she said.

“You don’t really talk about your boyfriend anymore. Did something happen”? Krish asked. Meera stared at him for a second, wondering what he could be talking about, until it hit her. She blushed.

“Abhi is not my boyfriend Krish! He’d just a silly crush I had” she said. Krish laughed, then paused. Something about her sentence caught his attention.

“You said had. What happened”? He asked. Meera shrugged again.

“I guess I moved on. I still like him, but now I like someone else”. She said, blushing as she looked at him. Krish felt his cheeks coloring at her stare. They didn’t say anything for a while, just sat in awkward silence, which Meera broke by coughing.

“So...” She drawled. Krish looked around, thinking of something to say, when he spotted a water gun lying in a stash of old things on Meera’s floor. He snickered and picked it up. Funny enough, it was filled with water. Ice cold water. Meera was never going to forgive him for this, but at least he’d have a good laugh.

“Krish...” Meera warned, but it didn’t work, as Krish pressed the trigger on the water gun and immediately sprayed Meera with water. She screeched and ran.

“Krish”! She yelled, running into the backyard from the humored criminal. He kept pulling the trigger, soaking her clothes each time. They ran around the backyard, until Meera came across another water gun, one Girish was playing with a few days ago. Smirking, she grabbed it and began spraying back at Krish. He spluttered.

“S-Sundar”! He exclaimed. Meera giggled.

“Catch me if you can Krish”! She teased. Krish smirked.

“I plan to”. With that, they bolted, chasing each other around the yard until they were both drenched.

“I-we should go change” Meera said after a while, gesturing to their soppy clothes. Krish nodded, flipping his wet bangs out of his face.

“I have some old clothes of my dad’s that you could wear” Meera offered. Krish shook his head.

“No, i’m fine. Thank you though, Sundar” he said. Meera shrugged and went to her bathroom after collecting her clothes, leaving Krish to wait for her. She’d given him a towel. (“So you don’t get sick” she had said). He heard the sound of the water and of small movements. He began wondering what she did in her free time. She worked, he knew, and hung out with her friends, but what else? A sudden thought struck Krish. At the Criminal Club, they often did water gun fights, similar to the one he’d shared with Meera, but more...intense. Maybe violent.

Would Meera want to go? He’d always been alone, hanging out with other criminals watching stupid dances on stage. None of the girls singing could compare to Meera, that’s for sure. She just... outdid the rest of the girls, in a way that if you asked him, Krish would be able to give you a speech.

As he contemplated his thought, Meera walked out of the bathroom, drying her wet hair. She sat on the bed next to Krish, her eyes looking to meet his. Beautiful green eyes that were filled with care-and something else. Not like when they first met, when they flashed with hostility. Meera couldn’t explain it, but she liked looking into his eyes. It made her feel warm and fuzzy inside. It reminded her of...Abhi?

“Meera”? Krish’s voice brought Meera back to reality. He’d rarely called her her real name, and she worried at first that he was upset. But he didn’t look upset when she turned to face him. He looked more like he was going to ask her to marry him. A nervous wreck! He wasn’t... was he?

“What’s wrong”? She asked.

“Um... are you doing anything this Saturday”? Krish asked. Meera slowly shook her head, an eyebrow raised. What was Saturday? Had she forgotten something? She was known for being quite forgetful.

“Then, if your not busy... do you want to come with me”? Krish asked.

“Where”? Meera asked.

“There is this club for criminals. It gets really boring, but it’d be much more entertaining if you were there” Krish prodded. Meera thought for a moment, then nodded.

“Sure. I’ll have to tell Girish so he can stay with a friend, but I can come” she said. Barely were her words out of her mouth when Krish jumped up and hugged her.

“Thank you”! He exclaimed, sounding like a child. Meera laughed and patted his head.

“No problem” she said.

“Just one more thing. Every criminal hides his or her face. So try to wear a disguise” Krish added.

“Like you”? Meera asked, gesturing to Krish’s suit. He nodded.

“Yeah. Like mine. Do you think you can do it”? He asked.

“I can try. Anika is a seamstress, so I can ask her” Meera said. He nodded.

The next day, Meera called Anika over early in the morning. Girish had left early for classes and wouldn’t be back until late at night, about the time Krish visited, so she’d have the whole place to herself. It was kinda scary. The floorboards creaked with every wind gust and echo’s bounced through the walls. It was like her parents were still here, watching her every move. Though, some parts would’ve been embarrassing (cough kissing a criminal cough).

“Hey girl”! Anika said, barging through Meera’s front door. The latter sighed and got up from the couch to hug her friend.

“What’s up”? Meera asked, sitting back down. Anika sat next to her.

“I should be asking you that. What’s going on with Krish”? Anika asked. Meera shrugged.

“Nothing much. Just peachy” she said. Anika rolled her eyes.

“How’s Rajkumar”? Meera asked.

“He’s doing okay. Dealing with Abhi” Anika said. Meera frowned.

“Why? What happened to Abhi”? She asked.

“Eh, nothing much. He’s just been on air lately” Anika said dismissively. Meera nodded.

“Oh. Anyway, apart from hanging out with you today, I need a small favor” Meera said, wincing slightly. Anika laughed.

“Sure! What do you need help with”? She asked. Meera sighed and braced herself for the impact of questions.

“Krish wanted to take me somewhere and-”

“Whoa whoa whoa. Back up. You’re going on a date with Krish”?! Anika exclaimed. Meera flushed, mumbling a small defense, which Anika completely ignored.

“Nu uh girl. You aren’t getting away that easily. How did he ask? What did you say? Are you dating? What about Abhi”? Anika continued raining questions on Meera until the blackette put a hand up.

“Whoa Anika calm down! Breath! In and out”. Meera demonstrated and Anika followed, her face slowly losing its red color.

“Better”? Meera asked. Anika nodded, swallowing.

“Okay. One question at a time” Meera started. “First off, no, I am not dating Krish. Second, he asked me while we were talking if I wanted to go to a cl-party with him” she said, quickly changing the destination. It was safer for Anika if she didn’t know where she was going.

“And”? Anika prodded.

“And I said yes, but I need a disguise to wear. Can you make me something”? Meera asked. Anika smiled and nodded.

“Sure. I already have your recent measurements. Now, what about Abhi”? She asked.

“I do still like Abhi, but he isn’t doing anything Anika. Why should I keep pining for someone when I have one right next to me, ready to give me his full love and attention”. Meera sighed, resting her head in her hands. “I’m just so confused. I love Abhi. I have loved him since we were fourteen, but, he’ll never love me back. If I keep waiting for Abhi, then Krish will slowly fade away. And if Abhi does break my heart, then i’ll have no one. I think I fall for men to easily” she said. Anika patted her shoulder.

“I can see your point. But you’ve gotta choose at some point. Sweet, kind Abhi. Or brave, law breaking Krish” she said.

" If I do choose Krish, will you still be my friend”? Meera asked. Anika hugged her tightly.

“What kind of question is that? Of course i’ll still be your friend. I want you to be happy. And if Krish makes you happy, then i’ll support you all the way” she said. Meera laughed.

“’Kay. Now that you’re good to go, I’ve got a meeting with Rajkumar. I think Abhi said he was coming to see you though” Anika said, standing up. Just as soon as she left, the doorbell rang again, with Abhi standing at the door. Of course, people were snapping pictures.

“Hi Meera” he said. Meera stepped aside and let him in.

“Hi Abhi! What’s up”? She asked, her face flushing again. Why did she have the hardest life?

“Nothing really. Just came to see you. Haven’t seen you in a while” he said, his voice coming out in a rush. His cheeks began tinting light pink.

“I’m fine. How are you”? Meera asked, hiding a blush of her own.

“Cool. So, are you safe during the nights? I was worried ever since I heard you had an encounter with Krish”. Abhi said. Meera’s heart fluttered at his worry, but something that he said did not make sense.

“How did you know I met Krish”? She asked. As far as her memory would take her, she’d never told anyone about her encounter with the handsome criminal.

“Oh! I-um heard it from a few boys in town. Yeah! They were talking about it” Abhi said, quickly covering his slip-up. Meera frowned, but didn’t say anything.

“I suppose you’re busy. I shouldn’t be interrupting you” Abhi said, about to leave after a moment of silence. Meera lunged forward and grabbed his wrist, the act surprising both of them.

“Huh? Meera”? Abhi asked, his voice surprised. Meera froze. That voice! Just like Krish when they were playing with the water guns. Just like Krish...

“Ugh” Meera quickly pulled away, blushing and scratching the back of her head.

“It’s just, you’re not a bother K-Abhi. You’re never a bother” she said, her eyes full of sincerity. Their eyes locked, freezing time. Instinctively, they moved closer to each other, only to realize what they were doing a few moments later and quickly apologize.

The disguise was done by Saturday. Meera had to admit, Anika was very prompt in her job. It was a blackish-purple suit with small transparent skirt and a belt underneath. She had also added gloves, with a coil like a snake’s tail at the edges. It reminded Meera so much of Kaliya, the Naga snake that Krishna had defeated. It was one of her favorite stories as a child.

“What do you think”? Anika asked, watching Meera twirl in the mirror.

“It’s beautiful” Meera exclaimed. Anika laughed and began rummaging through her purse.

“What are you doing”? Meera asked.

“Every disguise needs a mask” Anika said cheekily, pulling out a mask. It was just like Krishs’ except of the color difference.

“You based this on Krish, didn’t you”? Meera deadpanned. Anika laughed weakly.

“Maybe” she drawled. Meera laughed.

“Oh Anika” she sighed.

That night, Krish didn’t expect to faint. He never expected anything actually. Which was one of the reasons he never liked surprises. He always liked knowing when things were going to happen. So imagine his surprise when he saunters into Meera’s room, and sees her dressed in a suit, almost an exact replica of himself.

“M-Meera”? He managed to croak. The girl before him had loose, long black hair all messy and a tight fitting purple and black suit. Her eyes were vibrant, either from the mask or the eyeliner she’d put.

“What? Can’t take a fan”? Meera teased, skipping up to him. Krish felt his throat clog up with every step closer, until she was inches away from him. His breath hitched, his eyes trailing down to her lips. He licked his own, bending closer. Meera laughed softly, pushing him away from her with his nose.

“Ah ah ah. No kissing tonight Krish” she lightly scolded. Krish nodded bluntly, like a robot and a remote. She flicked the bell on his suit.

“Don’t we have a club to be going too”? She asked. Krish bobbed his head up and down.

“Y-yeah. Club-we-go”. His words were mixed up, like a drunk person. Meera laughed again. If he was to be this quiet, she would’ve dressed up in a skin-tight suit a long time ago.

“But what will you call yourself”? Krish asked, collecting the last of his dignity. Meera answered without even hesitating.

“Kaliya”.

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