‘Hey! How about this one? Is this good?’ Alisha asked Sameer, as she was trying out a black coloured one piece dress with shining and glimmering black stilettos.
‘Look, I have no idea of what you girls wear and what’s in trend. Let’s go!’
‘Sam! I’m not coming unless you give me an answer…’
Ignoring her pleadings, Sameer walked out of the ‘Louis Vuitton’ show room in a newly opened mall in city.
Alisha and Sameer were best friends since their childhood, since even before, something like since they were sperms. Their families were as close as they had blood relations, and since their childhood only, their plan was to get literally related by bounding Alisha and Sameer in a wedlock. In his deep dreams somewhere, Sameer wanted their plan to become a reality, even Alisha wanted Sameer badly, but they couldn’t confess it to each other, until that one Saturday night!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
08:00 PM – Party Time
Alisha wore the same dress she bought from the mall with Sameer, as the theme of party was black. She looked at her black glimmering watch, and saw only the hours and minutes needles depicting the time to be 8 in the evening. She applied some powder pink lip-gloss, closed the lid, slid the tube into her sling bag which hung across her waist, zipped the bag and walked to the door while making a rhythmic tic-toc sound of her high heels.
‘I’m going for party, mom! BYE…’ Alisha screamed, shut the door of the home, and rushed away.
‘Alisha, listen! Who is going with you? Which party? You never tell anything!’ her mother barely reached the door with her never-ending questionnaire, but Alisha was already gone.
She could only see a white coloured i20 zooming off, and the number plate confirmed it was Sameer. She breathed a sigh of relief, locked the gate and called Sameer.
‘Hello, Sameer! How are you, son?’
‘Evening, Aunty! I’m great, how are you?’
‘Son, Alisha rushed so hurriedly that she forgot to tell me where she was going, whose party it is…’
‘Aunty…don’t worry. Alisha’s friend Zoya is throwing her 21st birthday party!’
‘Again? Three years ago also she threw her 21st birthday party, son! She hasn’t grown up since then?’
‘Haha, aunty you don’t know the latest trend these days. Throw your 21st birthday party at least five times, before you turn 30!’
‘Oh God! What will happen to this generation? I’m so worried…’
‘Aunty, relax! We’ll be back by midnight, and Alisha is totally safe with me, you can trust me!’
‘I trust you blindly, son!’ Alisha’s mother blessed Sam, he smiled and hung up.
‘She was again screaming over me, right?’ Alisha folded her arms.
‘No! You worry too much. She’s the sweetest mother anyone can have. I wonder why you don’t like her?’
‘It’s not that I don’t like her. But her constant nagging and inquiries block my breath, sometimes!’
‘Here we go…’ Sameer parked the car in front of the pub, a guard came and stood by.
‘Zoya’s party, uh, something with a black theme…’ Sameer spoke.
‘Tell him the ‘Vampire-Theme’ he’ll understand’ Alisha hushed into Sameer’s ears.
Sameer looked at her with disapproving eyes.
‘It’s third floor! Valet parking?’ the guard asked.
‘Yeah, alright!’ Sameer handed over the keys to the guard and stepped down with Alisha.
‘Hey, hold it…’ Alisha handed over the bouquet to Sameer.
They boarded an elevator and reached the third floor.
‘Can’t you tell me?’ Alisha anticipated an answer.
‘What?’ Sameer pressed the button with number ‘3’ engraved on it, and the lift started ascending.
‘Who discovered gravity?’
‘Isaac Newton? But why?’
‘See! You can tell me who discovered gravity, but you can’t answer a simple question, that how am I looking?’
‘You think it’s a simple question?’
‘What’s so challenging in it?’
‘Newton was one lucky fellow!’ Sameer looked up, the elevator ceiling had a tiny fan, which was buzzing on full speed.
‘I heard he died virgin, and dying virgin isn’t a very lucky thing, I believe!’ Alisha was touching up her make-up, she pressed her lips to spread the pink lipstick uniformly.
‘Lucky, because he had no woman to ask him how the hell am I looking?’ and I believe that’s a lucky life!’
‘Yeah, you guys always want us girls to never even ask you anything, then why the hell do you need a woman to be married?’
‘That’s a stupid question, and hey! What kind of theme is this? Vampire Theme? I mean, are they going to be dressed like…’
‘Yes! Vampires. That’s why I was thinking to apply red lipstick instead of pink one…’ Alisha’s words were in her mouth, that suddenly, Sam burst off.
‘NOW! Don’t ask me if I have red lipstick in my wallet, no, I don’t! And don’t ask me how are you looking, you’re looking just fine, and pink lipstick is also looking fine!’ Sameer almost shouted, and he anticipated Alisha’s breakdown soon, tears were welling up in her eyes.
The elevator beeped, it was third floor. They stepped out, and Alisha held Sameer’s hand gently.
‘You always look at me in that way, but never say anything good about me…why Sam?’ Alisha looked into his eyes. For a moment, Sameer was also lost in the moment. He thought this maybe the right time to confess his love for his childhood buddy, but his nervousness stopped him once again.
‘Don’t flatter yourself…’ Sameer pulled her cheeks gently, and walked away. He opened the door which led them to a hall, with loud music and low lights.
Alisha followed him, disappointed.
‘Heeeyyyyy!!’ Zoya shouted seeing Alisha and Sameer.
She was dressed in a torn up and tattered piece of clothing, with glowing red horns on her head.
‘Happy Birthday, Soya Sauce!’ Alisha screamed and jumped to hug her.
‘A very happy 25th birthday, Zoya’ Sameer handed over a giant roses and orchids bouquet stressing the word ’25th’ more than anything.
‘Sshh, it’s my twenty first, don’t you shout like that!’ Zoya pressed her lips and adjusted her horns.
‘Is this a vampire theme? I mean, really? Since when do vampires have horns?’ Sameer scratched his head.
‘Vampires have horns! Don’t you know that?’ Zoya spoke myteriously, sounding like a long lost cousin of a vampire herself!
‘By God’s grace, the music is so low, that nobody can hear anything. We have to shout to even say the gentlest things!’ Sameer cupped his hands around his mouth and spoke loudly.
‘Haha, Sam! I’ll tell the DJ to slow down the volume a bit!’ Zoya shouted in Sameer’s ears and ran away.
She screamed something in the DJ’s ears as well, and the music was changed. From loud metal screams, the music was now shifted to a softer genre.
‘Let’s get a girlfriend for you, Sam; someone who’ll teach you how to praise a girl!’ Alisha spoke and took a step. She was furious and angry with his behaviour tonight. Sameer held her arm tightly.
‘Don’t create any scene, I’m telling you…’
Alisha showed him her tongue and ran away. Wearing five inches stilettos couldn’t get her that far. Sameer ran after her, held her from her waist and they couldn’t realize that they reached the middle of the dance floor. The crowd around them started shouting and encouraged them to dance. Sameer couldn’t do anything, but acquiesced and started dancing with Alisha.
As they managed hardly two steps together, someone patted Sameer’s shoulders. It was some guy from the party who was asking to dance with Alisha. Sameer smiled and gently told the guy to buzz off.
‘Is she your girlfriend?’ the guy asked.
‘No, I’m not…’ Alisha spoke and left Sam’s hand. Sameer couldn’t say anything, after all, he wasn’t the one who had any right on her to control her from dancing with someone. She wasn’t his girlfriend.
Alisha started dancing with that guy, and Sameer walked to a secluded corner. Alisha was clearly trying to make him jealous.
‘One whisky…’ he ordered the bartender.
‘Soda or water?’
‘Neat…’ Sameer was getting possessive for Alisha.
He couldn’t tolerate the guy touching her waist, and Alisha touching his shoulders. Sameer’s tolerance was on the brim of his mind’s eruption limit. He and Alisha have always been together, he even thrashed up many guys who flirted with her or who were after her, but he could never gather enough courage to present a reason behind his possessive behaviour. Sameer loved her more than anything else in this world, while Alisha also felt the same for her, and each day she waited for him to approach her first!
Soon the lights of the hall were dimmed to almost darkness. Sameer got tensed as the crowd in the middle increased, and Alisha was dancing with a strange guy. The hard liquor served openly in the party increased manifolds, the chances of mishaps. Sameer got up and could barely take two steps forward. With so many people coming in his way, and Sameer uttering a polite ‘excuse-me’ to almost anyone, he still couldn’t locate Alisha.
From a distance, he saw Zoya, and he immediately held her arm and pulled her towards him.
‘Alisha? I can’t see her anywhere…’
‘Oh! She just went out.’
‘What? With whom?’
‘With Karan; my friend!’
‘I don’t know, I just saw her leaving the hall.’
‘Are you…ugh!’ Sameer found it totally useless to argue with a girl who was throwing her 21st birthday party for third time in continuation.
Sameer rushed downstairs, he saw her nowhere. He was calling her since the moment he discovered that she went out, but she wasn’t picking up her phone. Sameer was tensed, tiny droplets of sweat accumulated on his forehead. He swore to himself, that if something bad happens to Alisha, he’ll kill that guy!
He rushed towards the guard who parked his car.
‘Hey, you remember a girl, who entered with me in this pub? You saw her leaving with someone?’
‘Sir…well, that girl in a short black dress?’
‘Yes, sir! I saw her leaving with a guy, he was also wearing black.’
‘Thank you very much, idiot! Everyone from Zoya’s party is wearing black tonight!’
‘Sir, Both left just 2 minutes ago.’
‘Can you tell me the number of the guy’s car?’
‘Sure, sir. We also have his phone number. He’s a regular member at this pub.’
The man checked his records, and gave him the number of his car and his phone number. His name was Karan.
Sameer called him up. He didn’t pick up. Sameer was sure of something suspicious. He asked the guard the direction in which they went, and he followed up the way.
After a few minutes of driving, he saw the car the guard mentioned. The number plate confirmed it was of that guy, Karan. Slowly and stealthily, Sameer parked his car at a distance. He didn’t want to alert the guy and wanted to catch him red handed.
He started walking towards the car with firm steps. His mind generated vile thoughts and he tried to control them. His imagination was making him insane. All the ‘what-if’s’ spawning in his mind were stressing him more. Mentally he was so worried that he almost swore to himself that if Alisha will be alright, then he’ll propose to her and never leave her alone.
In all the hustle-bustle of his thoughts, he reached the car. It was dark inside, all the lights were off. The engine was also off. Sameer walked towards the rear window and tried to look inside, but the tainted glass prevented his vision from going beyond the back of the head-rests.
‘What the hell is going on? I should break the window…’ Sameer thought, and as he mustered up his strength and joined his hands to punch into the glass, he heard the voice of Alisha’s laugh.
Immediately he ran away and hid behind the car. Alisha and Karan were walking towards the car from a distance. Sameer saw them approaching the car in a jolly mood. He thought it to be safe to talk to the guy as he didn’t seem to annoy Alisha.
Meanwhile, he remembered his silent promise that he made to himself, of proposing Alisha if he finds her in good health.
‘Hey, Sameer! What are you doing here?’ Alisha asked him cheerily.
‘Just escaped from death!’
‘What? What happened? Are you alright?’
‘You tell me are you alright, Alisha? I was so worried…’
‘Sam! This is Karan, my college mate! Don’t you remember him?’
Sameer dragged his mind to the limit of its retaining power, but this guy was surely an unregistered face.
‘Hey buddy!’ Karan offered a hand.
‘No, I don’t think, I remember you. Sorry, I don’t.’ Sameer held his hand for a second and left it.
‘It’s okay dude…’
‘Karan! The guy who had a funky bike in college? Who also had a nerdy girlfriend? Still don’t remember?’
‘Ummm…no!’ almost every second guy in his college had a funky bike and a nerdy girlfriend!
‘Never mind! Karan and I were getting bored at the party, so he asked me for an ice-cream, and so we came here. Look…look there, you get city’s best chocolate ice-cream over there!’ Alisha pointed towards at a hideous shop in the corner of that lonely street.
Sameer was about to burst. He was so worried for her and she was roaming for an ice-cream, so carelessly.
‘And where is your phone?’
‘Oh! Sam, we both accidentally left our phones in the car. I also realized this thing just when we reached that parlour.’
Sameer held Alisha tightly from her shoulders, ‘You listen to me, and listen carefully! This is the last time this imprudent thing has happened. Always carry your phone with you, and never; mind you, never go alone with strangers!’ Sameer stressed the last word of the sentenced, giving a stern look to Karan.
‘Ahan? And why not? Who are you to stop me?’
‘I love you…’
Alisha couldn’t believe her ears for a moment. Was Sameer actually proposing to her? In the middle of the street at such an odd time?
‘Hey, what’s wrong Sam? You don’t seem to be okay…’
‘I’m completely fine, Alisha. I never said it, and have always kept it within me, but not anymore. I love you and I love you more than anyone can ever do! I was so worried and tensed for you, and when Zoya told me that you left the party with Karan, I almost freaked out!’
Tears welled up in Alisha’s eyes, while Karan watched the whole episode like a mute spectator. Within a moment of silence, he bid a good-bye, started his car and drove off, leaving Sameer and Alisha alone, with their newly confessed love.
‘You don’t know how much courage it takes for a guy to pour out his heart in front of the girl he loves. But tonight, I made a promise to myself, that if I’ll see you alright, I’ll never let you go again…’
Sameer held Alisha’s hand gently.
‘I don’t know what your answer will be, or your reaction. I had to say it…I’m sorry if I hurt you in anyway…’
Sameer left her hand with a jerk and turned back. He took a step forward but Alisha hugged him from behind.
‘Don’t…please Sam…don’t go…I love you too…’
Sameer turned again and faced Alisha, who was weeping; those maybe the tears due to her extreme happiness, but still they bothered Sameer, and he wiped them off gently.
‘I always thought that you’re not interested in me, or you need some other girl, that I’m not your type. That’s the reason I always asked you how I looked, to know if you like me at all?’ Alisha said it in such an innocent way that Sameer kissed her forehead.
‘You always looked beautiful, Alisha. I could never express it in any words…’ Sameer brought his face closer to Alisha’s, he bended a little low, and gently brushed his lips with hers. A cold shiver ran down Alisha’s nerves, and he held him tightly from his shoulders.
Sameer placed his hand over her waist and brought her close. Their eyes met, and so did their lips, and they were lost in the mesmerizing oblivion for indefinite moments. As Alisha opened her eyes, she gently pulled herself away from Sameer, who was still kissing her. She looked at her watch, it was 01am. The night was about to end and it was the time for Alisha to go home.
Sameer and Alisha walked down the street and reached Sameer’s car. He dropped her home and headed back to his. Alisha’s mother opened the door and asked her about the party, but Alisha had only one name on her lips, and that was Sameer.
‘Mom, he proposed to me!’ she hugged her mother tightly.
The Saturday nights every time, sure had plenty of hidden surprises in store for them, but this one just changed their entire life…