It had been over twenty minutes since Radhika and Aarush were sitting face to face, in Phoenix mall, but no one had said anything since then. Radhika didn’t want Aarush to run away, and Aarush was waiting for Radhika to start her ‘serious thing’. Aarush ordered food, drinks, even sweet-dish, but nothing made Radhika speak up.
‘Okay, I’m tired of this. Tell me what’s going on!’ breaking the ice between them, Aarush finally spoke, banging his fists on the table.
‘I’m sorry Aarush. I know I’ve frustrated you a lot in last few minutes, but what I want to tell you has been frustrating me since a few days now, and I’ve not been able to open my heart in front of you.’ Radhika was continuously looking down, as if she had committed a sin.
‘What? What’s all this…look at me…I don’t know ‘this’ Radhika at all!’ Aarush held her hands firmly. His warmth melted her heart. She looked at him, he was smiling. His dimples. They did the trick and Radhika couldn’t stop herself from smiling too!
‘I can’t believe you are worried because of something that you haven’t yet told me!’ Aarush was continuously looking into her eyes, while Radhika was shying away.
‘You will not understand Aarush. It’s not that simple. I’ve never felt so confused and so…I mean this is the first time in my entire life that I’m feeling so weird like this. It’s so complicated!’
‘No! It’s simple. Everything is simple. You girls complicate everything I tell you! I’m sure it’s your friend, that room-mate of yours, who put something stupid in your head, and here you are, trying to open your heart out to me, isn’t it?’
‘What? How do you know that?’ Radhika was amazed at the guy’s guessing-powers.
‘Because Koel would do the same. Every time she would meet her girl-friends, they would put something in her mind, and she would fight with me, have the so-called ‘serious discussions’ which were never serious at all, and we would quarrel and throw things at each other without any reason! That’s why, we ended up living together. It was all my decision. We moved in, into my apartment, and then things started sorting out between us. I tell you, that’s what happens with every girl!’ Aarush said it all in one breath.
‘Wow!’ Radhika was surprised at how he was still so much in love with his ex-girlfriend that he didn’t sense Radhika sitting in front of him, trying to talk about something that had been bothering her.
‘Shit…shit…I’m sorry, I’m very sorry Radhika, please forgive me…’ Aarush quickly stood up from his chair and came at her side. Placing his hands at her shoulders, he again apologized for bringing his ex in their talks.
‘Its fine, Aarush, it’s alright. I’m fine…’ Radhika was trying to move him away.
‘No, no…it’s not…get up…we’re leaving…please…please…at least give me one chance to apologize…’ Aarush was becoming restless and feeling guilty. Radhika got up as he insisted, and he drove her to Marine Drive in his shiny black Volkswagen. Throughout the drive, Aarush remained mum. He was scared that he might bring Koel again in his talks, and that would piss Radhika…damn that would piss any girl off! As they reached, he parked his car at a distance from the promenade, and they started walking together. Aarush was looking at Radhika, and she was staring into the ground. Thinking about how would she hold her heart from breaking now?
Aarush held her hand and took her towards a giant stone that was partly submerged in water. They both climbed up and sat at the stone, watching the sun dive into the vast ocean. Aarush pressed Radhika’s hand between both his hands and apologized again for his behaviour.
‘We guys don’t know how to do romance, or how to say sorry. And even if we say sorry, girls always think we didn’t mean it. I honestly don’t know how to convince you to finally believe that I’m sorry, so I’ve brought you here.’ Aarush’s soft voice was piercing untouched corners of Radhika’s heart.
‘Just like you would bring Koel?’ Radhika asked in a taunting manner. His words obviously did hurt her.
‘See? This is what happens when you do anything for a girl. They always confirm whether it’s your first time or you’ve done the same thing with another girl?’ Aarush finally made Radhika laugh. He gently placed his arm at her shoulder and Radhika’s head was resting at his shoulder.
‘I don’t know how we ended up coming so close. Neither do I know, what the future of this relationship is. But I know one thing, Radhika. I know that you are a sweet, innocent girl. I know that you will be a really great girlfriend and that whoever will be your boyfriend, will be the luckiest bastard!’ Aarush smiled. Radhika was patiently listening. Her head on his shoulder, and his hand on hers.
‘And I also know one more thing, you know what?’ Aarush stopped. Radhika rose up, and looked at him with a blank expression on her face.
‘I know that you have forgiven me for today. I understand I’ve been an asshole for bringing up the past, but honestly, I was too stuck with Koel till I met you. I won’t lie to you Radhika. But you are the only thing that’s on my mind, since the day we met in the mall. I’ve been thinking a lot about you. I won’t say that I love you, because I don’t. Right now, I don’t love you, but I do like you in a certain way. Let’s be honest today Radhika. I’ve confessed what I feel for you, and maybe the incident at the mall today has helped me confess it, but whatever I’m saying today isn’t out of my guilt, but out of honesty.’
Radhika was staring at him. She witnessed an Aarush she was totally unaware of. She didn’t know about existence of his emotional side. Neither did she know about him, having a soft corner for her. But Aarush confessed everything today. From his likeness towards Radhika, to his involvement with his ex-girlfriend Koel.
‘Sunsets have something in them, isn’t it?’ Radhika said softly. Her throat dried up after listening to more than she could digest. Aarush nodded in agreement.
‘Do you want me to make another honest confession today?’ Aarush asked her as he brushed off a strand of hair away from her face.
‘It’s my first time. With you. Here. I’ve never been at the Marine Drive with Koel. Never. We just drove past it at the road. She thought it was cheap. She insisted on having five star dinners instead. But with you, I never thought I had any such limitations.’
‘We don’t realize that we are coming near to someone, until we face the fear of losing them forever.’ Radhika said, as she wiped a tear from the corner of her eye, trying to hide it from Aarush, but he sensed it in her voice that she was crying.
Aarush said nothing. He just held her tighter. His arm wrapping her up in his warm embrace. Radhika’s face was drowned in his chest. Her tears wetting his shirt. Her hand clutching Aarush’s hand tightly. Radhika broke down. Aarush looked up into the sky and closed his eyes. He understood that she was madly in love with him…