‘I want to make a big decision of my life today…’ Aarush spoke.
‘What decision?’ Radhika couldn’t understand. A million thoughts were running in her mind. Was he about to propose her? Were they finally going to be a couple after a month of friendship? Was he going to ask her for marriage? It could be anything.
‘But first promise me, you won’t say no.’
‘What?’ Radhika was scared now. What if he was asking for ‘sex’ from her? How could she ‘not’ say no? It would be rape then!
‘What is it? Tell me first…’
‘It involves a lot of money. You will enjoy it, believe me…’ Aarush smiled. For the first time in life, his smile looked more like that of a molester who was smiling at his victim before slaying her to death!
‘No. I mean, I’m not making any promises of any kind, before I know what it is about?’ Radhika pulled her hand back.
‘That means you don’t trust me.’
‘I trust you, Aarush, but I don’t know what you might ask out of me.’
‘God! I’m not asking you to…wait…what are you thinking?’
‘You’re asking me what I am thinking? You know everything about girls, don’t you? Then can’t you guess what I might be thinking at this point?’
‘Exactly!’ Radhika shouted.
‘NO! Wait. Stop. Hold on!’ Aarush backed off. His eyes widened.
‘I was thinking about asking you to leave your stupid job!’ Aarush slapped his forehead.
‘WHAT?’ Radhika shouted even louder this time.
‘But you, you have to think about something totally stupid, totally non-relatable. God!’ Aarush slapped his forehead, freaked out.
‘Fine, now shall I speak? Don’t worry I’m not asking you to make any promises, okay?’
‘Okay…’ Radhika guiltily said.
‘See, since a long time, I am planning to start my own company with Sahil and Love. Both of them are pissed off by Infosys and I’m also not enjoying Accenture either. I’m thinking about a start-up, for which I need one more person, someone who has business tactics and who can be better than you? You have been working as a business consultant in Kaya since last six months now.’
‘And I have a bond of 12 months.’ Radhika interrupted him.
‘What? You never told me!’
‘You never asked!’
‘Great. I mean, perfect. We don’t need you now either. It will take us at least 2-4 months to set up the company, and then resign from our jobs. And comfortably it will take us six months to finally devote our time to our start-up, and then we will need you on the board. So, are you in?’
‘How much money are you guys pulling in?’
‘Don’t worry, we aren’t charging you anything. You are business consultant, that’s it. I promise you a better salary than Kaya, and 25% shares in the company too, being the fourth partner.’
‘What about my money? What amount will I have to pool in?’
‘Nothing. I’m pooling in your money, and you…don’t you dare cry about the money now!’ Aarush held both her hands tightly. So tightly that it began to hurt her.
‘Okay fine…but will you tell me the amount?’
‘Oh it’s very small to even be discussed.’
‘Aarush…’ Radhika stared at him. She knew why Aarush was hiding it from her.
Aarush didn’t speak a word.
‘Total?’ Radhika asked again.
‘No, 25 lacs each. One crore total.’
‘WHAT? You are putting 50 lacs on your own? Are you out of your mind?’ Radhika was shouting at him.
‘No, I’m not. I’m taking a loan! You think I’ll ever put in my money for something as vulnerable as a start-up? Just relax. I know what I’m doing okay? You don’t need to worry, just help us with your business tactics when we need them, and stay out of the rest of the matters.’ Aarush folded his shirt-sleeves up. His Rolex watch was reflecting the light of the dying sun. Radhika placed a hand at his arm gently, brushing through his hairs. Aarush placed his hand at her shoulder like the last time, and she rested her head at his shoulder. She looked up at him. He was already staring into her eyes.
‘Sunsets have something in them, isn’t it?’ Aarush said. It were Radhika’s words the last time they were here. She smiled with joy. Aarush still perfectly remembered what she had said, even though both of them were highly emotional that day.
He looked into her eyes and cupped her face with both his hands. He brought her face near to his, and gave her a deep, warm kiss on her lips. Radhika couldn’t repel. She was waiting for this moment since a long time. Especially since all the time they were going out as friends. Every evening she would have dinner with him, and the craving to kiss him a good-bye, would always be supressed. It was the first time that her deep rooted wish was coming true, how could she stop him? Aarush on the other hand was just going with the flow. He had stopped bothering himself with thoughts of Koel and his past. He had moved on quite well. He didn’t know whether he wanted Radhika as his girlfriend or not. He never pressured himself with this question either.
Both of them were living free of any responsibilities or commitments. Both of them were living independently, doing what they loved, what kept them happy. Both of them were more in love with each other than anything else, but didn’t want the boundaries of a relationship or marriage, to destroy that love. They wanted to preserve it. For better. For best…