Off The Field

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Take 15 : Getting Closer To The Culprit [Part 1]

"A couple of days ago? The match day?" Asked Priyansh with curiosity.

"Yes. That's also why I was a bit off yesterday", Rehaan replied.

"What did you just do?" Priyansh asked, now a bit worried.

"I just agreed to their offer", Rehaan replied.

"What the hell have you done, Rehaan????" Priyansh shouted on the top of his lungs. He couldn't believe​ what his friend had just done.

"Calm down Priyansh! It's a part of my plan. I told you they had sent me pictures of my family, of our net sessions and Riya? It also carried a note along with it, which said, 'We are watching you'. On the back of the note, there was a contact number and a time written. Remember, I escaped from Sudhanshu's room? The time I cracked, from the figure on the back of the note, was 3 hours before the match. And, at that exact time I went towards the emergency exit, so that nobody hears me. I dialed that number and somebody picked it up. It was him, the man threatening me", Rehaan explained in a calm voice. There were signs of guilt on his face.

"Have you lost it, Rehaan? You just called them and accepted their offer? You've committed a crime, do you realize that! You're a criminal as well as an idiot Rehaan! We could have done it some other way! Accepting the offer wasn't an option", Priyansh was at his loudest. Rehaan had no words to speak for a few minutes.

"For once, just calm down Priyansh!" Rehaan shouted,"Look, I have done it for the sake of all of us, I wanted ensure you all and my family stay safe"

"You're a bloody emotional jerk Rehaan! Do you get that! They can't harm us or your family, they won't want the police involved into it, especially after attacking you. Don't you think if everyone around you got attacked all together, it would sound suspicious? They just tried to blackmail​ you and you bought it!" Priyansh wasn't stopping here, he wanted to let out all his anger on the skipper at once. At the same time, he couldn't believe what had just happened.

"Dude, I know. I just pretended about buying that while I was talking​ to them. Just calm down and listen to me! I took a chance to just reach out to this person. I want to find out who the hell is behind all this. At times, in order to reach the worst, you have to play a little bad..." Rehaan said, taking a deep breathe, he continued, “The next phase of my plan starts now, let's go for a jog in the park nearby, go and change your clothes, Priyansh"

"I not getting involved in any sort of criminal activity with you. You are just a sick criminal and nothing else. I am leaving", saying that, Priyansh turned towards the door.

"You're breaking the bro-code, Priyansh!", Rehaan said, in a teasing voice.

"This is not funny and you're not my buddy anymore, my buddy Rehaan is dead!" Priyansh replied, slamming the door.

Priyansh sat next to the door and started crying. He couldn't​ believe what Rehaan had just done. All the moral lessons and ethical standards learnt in his early days of cricket and school were flashing in his head. Rehaan, as well, was so perfect in case of ethics, Priyansh was finding it hard to believe Rehaan could go this far. His blood ran cold. With every thought, there were more emotions going through all his body.

"Get up buddy", Rehaan said, while placing a hand around Priyansh's shoulders. It had been around half an hour since he was sitting there. Even Rehaan was teary eyed. "I know, I have done a mistake", he said, while picking Priyansh up.

"This is not a mistake Rehaan, it's a crime, you've committed a crime", Priyansh said in a soft, broken voice.

"I know, and now there's no escaping to it. This was inevitable", Rehaan said, gaining a little confidence.

"This was an option! It was not inevitable! You could have simply avoided it by reporting it to the police", Priyansh tried his best to shout, but he knew he was in the passage and someone could easily listen to him. He didn't want this to spread out, for he knew the consequences are going to be harsh.

"It's better I didn't report it to the police, Mr. Peter is involved with these people and so, I could have invited all the more trouble for all of us by reporting it" Rehaan said in a hurried voice. He continued, “And think about it with a straight head Priyansh, I was attacked in broad daylight in Delhi. The hotels that we stay at have security protocols to follow. Even us players are not told about those. ACC is the organisation who has all the accounts of our security arrangements other the ICB and the security agencies providing us security. This is big, Priyansh"

"Look, you still have a chance, report it! The only possibility is, you may also get arrested", Priyansh argued, he wasn't leaving his stand. "You can even get Mr. Peets, do hell with Mr. Peets, Peter, I mean, you even get Peter arrested.... I was so close to both of you, couldn't​ have imagined...." Before Priyansh could complete the sentence, a fresh stream of tears forced their way out of his eyes.

“Look, even I want all the offenders behind the bars, but for that we need evidence, Priyansh. Let's get in", Rehaan said, with a little stress.

They got in the room and sat in their former places. Both were slowly breathing out of stress. There was silence in the room. After a few minutes Priyansh decided to finally get up, he walked towards the window and asked, "So, what's the plan?"

"Are you sure you are going to support me in this, you can back off, I won't mind it, Pri. You have always been strict with your ethics and don't let them compromise on any cost. But, I request you to not tell anything about today to anybody", Rehaan replied.

"I know what I am doing is going to be wrong, but at the same time, I want these guys to get exposed. What you did was wrong, but similar to what most of the people could have ended up doing in this situation. Let's just do this. Even if we fail, truth will take care of itself", Priyansh said with an energetic tone.

"Okay. So, go and get a change, we'll go to collect the money I was promised, there's this garden near the Hotel. The cover would be, we went for a jog. Somebody is going to bring the money out there and I want you to stay at a distance when I approach him and when it's the right time you'll catch hold of him. I am pretty sure, the person might have some important information to speak of. I was going to do this alone when I planned it. But now, you'd be of a good help", Rehaan explained in a low voice while taking a small round.

"But, what if they're more than one?" Priyansh asked, a little worried.

"We leave. We'll get to it in some other way", Rehaan said and picked up a kitchen knife from the table. "Keep this in your pocket, we'll need it"

"Mahn! Were did you get that from?" Priyansh asked, while taking the knife from him and started personating as if he was stabbing someone.

"I picked it from the hall where we had dinner, somebody irresponsibly kept it near the fruits and maybe, forgot", Rehaan said.

"You're a genius!" Priyansh exclaimed while leaving the room...

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