Radhika called Aarush home. Aarush knew that Kavita had left, so he arrived late in the evening.
‘I don’t want to go out. Can we just order Domino’s and eat here?’ Radhika sounded low.
‘What happened? I know Kavita left last night, but it’s okay. She had to move out someday. You girls couldn’t live together for the rest of your lives. Cheer up!’
‘I know we couldn’t, but I don’t feel good…’ Radhika walked and sat next to him on the couch.
‘I never thought I would be so weak and vulnerable. I don’t feel like the same Radhika Jain who travelled so boldly from Varanasi to Mumbai alone. I feel like a chicken!’
‘Come here…’ Aarush hugged her, ‘I know how it feels when someone whom you can’t imagine your single day without, leaves one day. Everything is scattered and broken, but they never come back. You have to move on, convince yourself that whatever happened has happened for your good, and happened to make you stronger.’
‘You are such a witty talker.’
‘I just speak the truth.’
‘And you are never wrong…’
‘Because truth is never wrong my dear… Now stop crying!’ Aarush wiped off her tears with one of the many tissues that laid around her coffee table in a haphazard manner.
‘Seems like you have flown an entire river out from your eyes. Remember, I don’t like girls with puffed eyes and dark circles!’
‘But the other day you said you liked the girls who cried…’
‘You misinterpreted me. I didn’t say I like the girls who cry. I said I liked the girls, who cried when I was the reason behind those tears!’
‘What? So you’re upset because I’m not crying because of you? You are so sick!’ Radhika got up in disgust.
‘Wrong. Again wrong. I like the girls who cry because of me, when I’m in bed with them…tears of pure, unadulterated bliss, tears of happiness, you get me? And if you ask me about my mood right now, then yes, I’m very upset as these tears are being wasted!’ Aarush wiped off her eyes again.
‘This time, you are sicker!’ Radhika hit him with a cushion.
The doorbell rung. It was the Domino’s guy.
‘Wait, I’ll get it…’
‘Aarush! C’mon, at least let me pay this time. I’m even crying for real now…’ Radhika’s voice fell on dumb ears, and Aarush was back with the blue-boxes of pizza.
‘Here…cheer up now’ Aarush opened up two boxes having extra-cheese, thin-crust pizzas.
‘You like thin-crust, don’t you?’ Aarush fed Radhika with his hands. Radhika ate till she was full and had stopped crying too.
‘What will I do now?’ Radhika asked Aarush.
‘The apartment. I can’t live here alone, I will die of depression. I can’t pay the full rent either. I will die of heart-attack!’
‘And I don’t want you to die while I’m still alive, so we have to figure out this problem…’ Aarush was thinking hard.
‘I have an idea, if you don’t mind.’
‘You can live with me, till you don’t find any other place to shift. You can live in my bedroom and I will shift in the hall outside. I don’t mind sleeping on couches, I anyways sleep on them half the time.’ Aarush raised his brows.
‘See, you are out of job, and this owner won’t relax you of the apartment rent ever. Moreover since we are working together on a start-up, so we can also spend a little time together. Professional-time…’ Aarush cleared himself, ‘And it will be cheaper because we won’t have to spend half of our salaries on phone-calls either! Its’ a win-win situation for both of us, so are you in?’ Aarush extended his hand. Radhika gave-in, in front of his superb convincing powers. She couldn’t think of any alternative plan better than this, so she decided that it was the best idea till the time she could figure out some new place to shift-in.
‘I’ll shift but on one condition. You will have to accept the rent. I can’t pay you much, but I will surely pay the amount that I’m paying currently to my present flat-owner. Deal?’ Radhika asked.
‘No. Never! If you think you will convince me by blackmailing me like this, it’s not going to happen ever. You stay here, get heart-attack and get depression, but don’t offer me any money. It sounds like a bribe to me!’ Aarush was standing with his arms folded.
Radhika was silent. She was aware of his stubborn nature. Convincing him was like talking to a mountain.
‘FINE!’ Radhika shouted and went inside to pack her belongings. She couldn’t stay a day more in this flat full of depression and loneliness.
Radhika arrived at Aarush’s place with her bags and it took them two days to finally adjust their clothing and properties in a convenient manner. Aarush’s stuff was locked up in the outside cupboards, while Radhika possessed all the cupboards and lockers inside the bedroom. Aarush slept in the couch and Radhika slept in his bed. They both slept apart for as long as 3 days, before both of them couldn’t control their feelings and finally wrapped up as one in Aarush’s bed.
‘I told you, it was a bad decision to move in with you…’ Radhika was making circles at his bare chest. They made love for over an hour for the first time.
‘I knew this would happen. I’m happy you know…’ he kissed her forehead, ‘Happy because it has happened with you and not with someone else…’ Aarush embraced Radhika in his arms. She placed her head gently at his chest.
‘Sweetheart, do one thing. Wake me up tomorrow morning at 08. I have to meet Love and Sahil to discuss company plans…’ Aarush dozed off within a minute. Radhika was still wide awake, thinking about her future with him. Their future together, which was still hazy and unclear. She also slept soon without reaching to any conclusion. They both were unsure about everything, but sure about one thing, and that was their love and concern for each other.
It might be the most unusual relationship of the world, but it was beautiful in its own ways. Radhika and Aarush were perfect for each other. They had perfect tuning, perfect understanding, and they both complimented each other perfectly. There was only one imperfect thing in their perfect lives – and that was the status of their relationship. They were still singles. Singles, who were more madly in love than the married or committed people…
1.5 Years Later – January, 2014
The morning was cheerful, but lazy. Two bodies were wrapped in one sheet in a small apartment at 17th floor in Mumbai. The girl moved a bit and woke up. She saw the time and stared at the ceiling for another ten minutes. The slowly rotating fan was making her dizzy again, but she forced herself to wake up instead.
‘Have you seen my bra?’ a soft voice broke the silence of the morning and entered Aarush’s ears.
‘Nope. How would I? I’m still sleeping…and by the way, WHY will I see your bra? Why?’ Aarush rolled inside the sheets and snored. Radhika rolled her brows and started searching in the room. After looking under the bed and on the dressing table, she walked towards Aarush’s bed and stood there firmly.
‘What a lazy dog you are, Aarush. You’re running late for office, its 08:30 of a Monday morning!’
‘Uh, yes? Good morning, maybe?’
‘Shut up! You have to be kidding me, I can’t be late today, I have a meeting at 09, and you. You knew it!’ Aarush rose from his sleep within micro-seconds.
‘Yes, I did, but so did you. If you can’t wake up yourself, why should I?’
‘What the hell? You can’t be so rude! Bye…’ Aarush picked up his formal clothes, wallet, belt, a tooth-brush and his cologne and rushed out of his 17th floor apartment.
‘Don’t you want to take a bath at least? Aarush?’
‘No! I’ll change in the car and put on some perfume, I’m already late.’
‘Bingo! I found my bra too, you were sleeping on it.’ Radhika heard the door shut louder than ever, she picked up her bra and entered the bathroom with her towels and shampoo.
Now that Aarush was gone, she could make her own breakfast and bathe for as long as she wanted. She didn’t have to think about rushing to office as today, Aarush himself signed her a sick-leave!
Radhika came back after a hot, relaxing shower. They both were still living in the same apartment that Aarush bought after a rude fight with his father. Radhika felt the need to move on to a bigger place. This apartment was a one-bedroom flat and that too on 17th floor. It was too high, and too small. She needed at least two bedrooms because everyday sex with Aarush was making things tough for them. They both were still unsure about their relationship. They never talked about commitment or marriage. They never discussed babies or planned their honeymoon. They were just having sex, and talking and discussing business.
Their company had flourished since the last 2 years and both Aarush and Radhika had made multi-million dollars out of it. Radhika wanted to spend it on property, while Aarush was forcing her to put that money for business expansion, so that they could buy the shares of Love and Sahil and slash them out of the company so that they could be sole owners, while Radhika was against this plan. She was scared to take this big step as after this, Aarush might propose to her and then she might have to marry him and give birth to his kids! She still thought Aarush wasn’t in love with her. She wasn’t wrong either, Aarush never said – I Love you to her, neither did he buy her flowers or chocolates. They just made love. Unadulterated, lustful, sex. That’s what had been happening between them since they moved in together. She still suspected Aarush to be mentally involved with Koel.
The doorbell rang and Radhika was pulled out of her thoughts. It was a courier-guy who was standing at the door with a package.
‘Hello Ma’am. Is this Mister…Aarush Choudhury’s place?’ the man was reading out the name from the package.
‘Yes it is.’ Radhika received the parcel for him.
‘And you are?’ The man asked.
‘His wife…’ Radhika hurriedly signed some papers and shut the door at his face.
She rushed inside with the parcel. It had no name of the receiver on it, but just the name, address and phone number of Aarush. She thought about informing Aarush, but then stopped. Her brain advised her to open the parcel, while her heart was insisting her to respect his privacy and call him instead. Her curiosity went with the brain, and she opened it. What she found inside, shocked her to her guts.
There were photos of Koel and Aarush together. Pictures of the happy time they spent, and there were a lot of them! Her heart was beating faster. She took out all the photos, at the bottom was a note saying –
I know what I did was unforgivable and extremely rude. I didn’t give a chance to our relationship and hastily went with my parents’ decision, but I was pressured and forced into it. Marrying Luckwinder was the worst mistake I ever committed. I corrected that mistake last month, when I finally won the divorce case I had filed three months ago, and now I’m free from that shitty marriage. I was hoping to catch up with you as I’m back in Mumbai.
I’ll be waiting for your reply, and I’m sure it won’t be a no! Baby, I still love you…
Radhika’s worst fears came true. Koel was back in the city and wanted to meet Aarush, who had moved on from his past with so much difficulty. Radhika didn’t want to tell him about it, but since it was his personal life, so he deserved to know. Radhika was torn apart between the dilemma of burning the letter and the photos away and never disclosing about it to Aarush, or telling him the truth and watch her life get destroyed, brick by brick…