Meera wasn’t in the best of spirits the next day. She didn’t have work since it was the Indian Derby day, so she opted to sleep in. Her crying from the night before had made her retire to sleep land early. Meera still didn’t understand why she cried after Krish’s departure. She was upset with him, and he was with her. He vowed that they wouldn’t have to be friends. Now she had India’s top criminal as her enemy. Maybe she shouldn’t have asked him that question. No! She was right! Who knows how old of a man she could’ve been letting in!
Meera dragged herself to the kitchen, where Girish and his friend Vishal sat. Meera had known Vishal would be coming, but she wished he didn’t. Vishal was a good boy, but she was in no mood to greet guests. Luckily, Vishal’s parents hadn’t come with him. Mr. and Mrs. Sinha were always turning their noses up at Meera’s house. Vishal wasn’t like his parents. He didn’t mind being in the company of people in the slums.
“Good morning Girish. Hi Vishal! How are you”? Meera asked, trying to sound enthusiastic. Sometimes she felt like she was a mother to Girish instead of his sister.
“I’m fine Didi. How are you? You look sad” Vishal asked. Girish looked up from the game he was playing.
“Yeah Meera. You do look sad. And tired. What’s wrong”? He asked. Meera shook her head.
“I’m not sad boys. Just tired. Do you want to eat something Vishal? Did you eat breakfast Girish”? She asked quickly to avert anymore oncoming questions.
“No thank you Didi. I ate before coming. I dunno about Girish though” Vishal said.
“I ate already” Girish said.
“Ate what”? Meera asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Um... food”? Girish questioned, a smirk on his lips similar to the one of Krish’s. Meera shook her head. She didn’t want to think about that boy.
“Fine. I ate some laddoo” Girish said. Vishal broke out in laughter and Meera couldn’t help but smile.
“Girish you can’t keep eating laddoo all the time! Here, eat some bread and butter” Meera said, taking the bread out of it’s wrap. She put some butter on it and handed it to Girish. Girish groaned as he bit into the bread.
“You sure you don’t want anything Vishal? I’m meeting with my friends soon so I won’t be here for long” Meera said, turning to Vishal. He thought for a moment before answering.
“Do you have a banana”? He asked shyly. Meera nodded and handed him a ripe banana.
“Thank you” Vishal said, biting into the sweet fruit. Meera nodded and went to grab her things before leaving the house. She had called Anika the night before asking if they could talk the next day. They decided to meet at the park.
As Meera walked, she thought about her fight with Krish. Maybe it was slightly her fault the more she thought about it. She shouldn’t have pressured him. True she should have known how old he was, but it was only a month since they had met. Maybe he would’ve told her if she gave him more time. It was too late for that now though. He said their friendship was over. Meera bet her whole life that next time she met him in an alley, she wouldn’t be at his mercy.
Soon, she reached the park and saw Anika talking on her phone. She walked towards her and Anika quickly put her phone away.
“Hi Meera! How are you”? Anika asked, pulling her friend into a hug.
“I’m okay. How about you? How’s Rajkumar”? Meera asked.
“I’m fine. So is Rajkumar. But Abhimanyu isn’t” Anika said as they began walking towards the market, taking this time as an opportunity to go shopping.
“Why? What’s wrong with Abhimanyu”? Meera asked worriedly. He was fine just yesterday. Was he hurt? Did... oh Krish had better not done anything! But, Krish didn’t know about her crush on Abhimanyu. Only Girish and Anika did. Then again, Krish could’ve easily read her diary when she wasn’t looking. Just the thought of him though made her want to cry again.
“He’s pretty moody today. He didn’t talk to anybody and was crying a few times. When Rajkumar tried to ask why, Abhimanyu brushed him aside. He’s not talking to anyone” Anika said. She picked up a notebook and handed it to Meera.
“You needed a new one. Your old one is almost full” she said as her excuse as she payed before Meera could. Meera sighed and put the book in her bag. It was fully black with green trim. It reminded Meera so much of Krish. His black outfit and green eyes flooded back into her mind. His black mask covering his beautiful emerald eyes and his thin coat covering his chest. Meera resisted the urge to cry in front of Anika.
“Why is Abhimanyu so upset”? She asked instead, hoping to rid Krish of her mind.
“I dunno. Like I said before he won’t talk to anyone. You can actually see anger and sadness in his eyes today” Anika joked as she bought some food. Meera remained quiet until something about Anika’s words hit her.
“Abhimanyu has green eyes, right? Like emeralds”? She asked. Anika nodded.
“I guess. I dunno about emeralds, but he does have bright green eyes” she said.
As they walked throughout the market, Meera brought Krish’s face and Abhimanyu’s face in her mind. They both did have long black hair and emerald eyes. They also had a nice build. But apart from that there were no other similarities. Krish was overconfident and Abhimanyu was kind. Krish was a criminal and Abhimanyu had never even stolen a pen in his life. So why was something bugging her about the two?
“Meera! Meera! Earth to Meera”? Anika waved a hand in front of Meera’s face. Meera blinked a few times and turned to her friend.
“What”? She asked.
“I asked if you were going to Suhavi’s party tonight. Didn’t you get the invite”? Anika asked. Meera looked through her phone and saw the invite. She must have not checked her phone the other night.
“Yeah I did. I’m not sure i’ll go. I don’t really like parties” Meera said. Anika raised an eyebrow. Meera sighed. She knew she’d be going to this party whether she liked it or not, but now she had to endure Anika’s ‘socializing’ speech.
“Meera you are going to that party! You can’t use Girish as an excuse because he is 15 now and can stay home alone on his own. You need to socialize and make new friends. Just don’t rat out on Rajkumar, Abhimanyu, and I” Anika teased. Meera laughed.
“Alright! You win. I’ll go. But what about Krish”? Meera asked.
“What about him, or them”? Anika asked.
“Won’t he be out tonight? It’s not safe” Meera said, repeating Anika’s words from more than a month ago.
“Eh. We’ll leave before he gets out and begins his spree. Besides, i’m not afraid of that two timing criminal! If he does try to attack us, i’ll kick him hard. I’ve been practicing” Anika said.
“On what”? Meera asked, laughing.
“Hm? None of your business” Anika teased laughing with her friend.
“Okay. So... see you tonight? I might leave early”? Meera asked. Anika nodded.
“Okay. See you”. The two girls parted ways and Meera soon began writing in her new book once she had gotten home. Vishal and Girish were playing board games in Girish’s room, so Meera was free for the rest of the day. She lay on her bed and began jotting down notes on the first clean page of the book. She was so into writing in the book that she lost track of time.
“Darn it! I’m gonna be late and Anika’s going to kill me” Meera exclaimed as she quickly put on a party dress and walked quickly to Suhavi’s house.
“So, you’re finally on time for once”? Anika asked as Meera caught her breath. The ball room was decorated with streamers and confetti littered the beige floors. Different paintings depicting the Mahabharata or the Ramayana decorated the walls. A glass chandelier hung from the middle of the room. Meera felt slightly undressed in her simple light pink dress. Suhavi told her not to worry, saying it was a beautiful dress.
“Yeah, but I had to run” Meera said, taking a cup of water to drink.
“No probs. You are on time. That’s all that matters. Now let’s party”! Anika yelled over the loud music, dragging Meera to the dance floor.
Meera had to admit, the party was fun. Many top songs such a Coca Cola, Main tera Boyfriend, Breakup song and Kamariya played with Meera leading the Breakup song. She even laughed at the irony later.
“What time is it” Meera yelled to Anika. They had been dancing for a long time and Meera was beginning to get tired.
“11”! Anika called over the music.
“I’m gonna go now. I have work tomorrow” Meera said. Anika nodded and waved goodbye to her along with Suhavi as she left. Meera shivered slightly at the cold night. She had gotten so used to the warm ballroom that she had forgotten that it was only February.
“I’d better hurry before-” Meera didn’t have time to finish her sentence when a rough hand pressed her against a wall. Red angry eyes stared at her. How Deja Vu Meera thought as she spit on the hand. The man or woman growled. Maybe a man.
“You look like you have some very valuable things on you” the man said. Meera gasped. It was the same mugger that had attacked her when she first met Krish.
“Let me go! I don’t have anything”! Meera lied angrily, not caring if the whole street heard her. She kicked him, but his hand pressed harder into her neck. She whimpered and felt her body flash in pain.
“Liar! Don’t you know God punishes liars” The mugger said, reaching for her necklace. Suddenly, just like the first night, a growl ripped through the air. The mugger didn’t even glance at the sound, or care, until he was ripped away from Meera and was met with Krish’s murderous face. The mugger clicked his tongue.
“Well well well. Krish! Long time no see. Still with the slum girl”? He asked. Krish growled louder and pressed his hand against the mugger’s throat. The mugger choked. Blood dripped from where Krish’s claws dug.
“Don’t give me that small talk Rishi” Krish roared. Meera shivered slightly, watching Krish’s claws dig into the mugger, or Rishi’s neck.
“What are you gonna do anyways? Save her again? Aren’t you upset at her? Why save her again when I can avenge you and kill her” Rishi sneered. Krish didn’t hesitate the slightest bit to dig his claws in deeper, making Rishi whimper.
“I saved her because I want to. Nobody tells me what to do except me Rishi! If I want to save her, then I will” Krish said.
“But why her? She’s a s-”
“Call her that again and I won’t hesitate in ripping your neck to shreds” Krish threatened. His green eyes blazed angrily and his mouth formed an angry scowl. His whole body was tense, muscles ripping from his thin coat. Meera didn’t know whether to sigh in relief of fear for her life again.
“You were about to hurt her, again I might add. As long as I live, you won’t ever touch her, got it” Krish added in a scary, low growl. Rishi, who was just smirking a moment ago, nodded fearfully and Krish bashed his head against the wall. Rishi collapsed on the ground, hopefully dead. Krish wiped his claws on his shirt and turned to face Meera. His green eyes, which were fiering with anger a moment ago, softened at the look of her frightened face. He walked towards her, boots clacking against the pavement and Meera didn’t dare move. They weren’t friends anymore, she remembered. He didn’t care for her anymore. Or so she thought. If he didn’t care, why would he save her? He might have killed one of his own kind, not that he cared anyway. Meera’s brain and heart fought with each other. Her brown eyes enlarged as Krish stepped closer to her, soon only being a few feet away. He gently lifted her up to her feet and looked her in the eye.
“Your scared” he noted. “Don’t be. As long as i’m here you will never be hurt”. Meera wanted to tell him that he himself had hurt her, but she thought that he already knew that, seeing the regret flashing in his eyes.
“We need to talk” Krish said briskly. Meera nodded, letting him lift her into his arms and carry her across the roofs. This was going to be a long night.