Dare to Love is second part of Dare to Love trilogy, after Inconsistent Love. Aarush and Radhika move into a live-in relationship in Aarush’s apartment in Mumbai. They both leave their jobs and start their company which becomes a success in a span of two years. One morning, Radhika receives a parcel under Aarush’s name and is shocked to see photos of him and ex-girlfriend Koel, along with a message from her, that she is back in town and would like to catch up with him. This parcel is enough to bring a whirlwind in Radhika’s newly settled life with Aarush. This story depicts Radhika’s dilemmas about her relationship, and reveals out some hidden, dark secrets from Aarush’s past. Will Radhika be able to deal with it? Or will she do what Koel did, and leave Aarush in the middle? What will Aarush do? Will he marry Radhika or end up fulfilling his dream of getting married to his first love – Koel.
Staring down from 27th floor into the endless, vast ocean was nostalgic. The huge glass wall on the rear side of his office was no less than a beauty! Aarush was wearing a crisp grey business suit and standing in front of the glass wall, his back, facing the posh office complex. Sometimes, staring into his own reflection and sometimes staring into the ocean. He was obsessed with heights and so his decision of buying an office at 27th floor, wasn’t opposed by anyone in his team. Love and Sahil, both were working hard with him. They both had their separate cabins in the same complex, but it was only Aarush who had this sea-facing office. He was ready to pay double from his salary just to get this, but his friends were generous enough to gift him this office!
Today was a special day for Aarush. He had asked Radhika for a lunch to the Intercontinental, the place where they first met almost 2.5 years ago. He had something in his mind that he wanted Radhika to know today.
‘Love, have you booked the table?’ Aarush made a call from his office intercom.
‘Yeah, your date is at 02 pm.’ Love was in-charge of handling bookings and advertisement department of the company, so anything related to hotel or even a lunch booking, was his task to handle.
‘Don’t mess up this time, you fucker!’ Love smirked and hung up.
There was still time for the clock to strike 2 pm and Aarush made sure it was a complete surprise for Radhika.
‘Radhika…’ Aarush phoned her from office.
‘Yeah? Aarush?’ Radhika picked up the call in utter shock. She was shocked to see Koel’s parcel and her old photos with Aarush. She was shocked by her letter, stating that she wanted to catch up with Aarush. She thought, maybe Aarush knew about the parcel already.
‘What happened? Are you okay?’
‘Yeah, I’m fine.’
‘You don’t seem to be. What happened?’ Aarush could sense the discomfort in her voice.
‘Nothing, I said. I’m okay. I just wasn’t expecting your call. Bad timing!’
‘Oh. Never mind. Listen. If you’re free today, can you come for lunch at The Intercontinental?’
‘What? Why?’ Radhika suspected Aarush. Maybe he wanted to talk about the parcel. Maybe Koel sent the same parcel at his office too?
‘What do you mean why? Just because I want to have lunch with you. Can’t we have lunch together?’ Aarush was sceptical. Radhika wasn’t behaving like her usual self.
‘Okay. I will come.’
‘No. I will come to pick you. I have to talk to you about something important.’
‘What important? What about it?’’
‘RADHIKA? What’s happening to you? Are you alright?’ Aarush was shocked to listen to the way Radhika was talking to him today.
‘Aarush. I’m sorry. I think we should cancel today. I think I need some time with myself.’
‘But why? Why won’t you tell me what’s wrong? Let’s meet at Intercontinental today and discuss and sort out our issues. That’s final. No more argument!’
‘Fine.’ Radhika knew how stubborn Aarush was. She knew he would never listen to her, and whatever he has ordered, has to happen. It can’t be delayed or cancelled in any case. She started sorting out the dress for today’s lunch.
Radhika hid the parcel of Koel into the deep ends of her wardrobe. At a place where it was impossible for Aarush to find it. She knew, Aarush didn’t intrude into her privacy, and never into her wardrobe, so that was the safest place in his home to hide something from him.
At 01 pm, Aarush was at the ground floor. He phoned Radhika from outside the lift.
‘Hey, are you ready?’
‘Hi. Yeah, almost.’ Radhika admired her knee-length black dress and dangling diamond earrings.
‘You have precisely 2 minutes to lock the apartment and come out. I’m taking the elevator.’
‘Fine, fine!’ Radhika quickly picked up her purse, combed her hair, applied some more lipstick, sprayed some more perfume and locked the apartment. Till the time she reached the elevator, the doors split open and Aarush dragged her inside.
‘Hey…’ he pushed a flick behind her ear, and kissed her cheek.
‘So much perfume, Radhika!’ he backed off!
‘Aarush…’ Radhika hugged him. She was scared.
‘Hey sweetie…what’s wrong?’ Aarush patted her head. He knew something was definitely wrong.
‘I am scared to lose you, Aarush.’
‘I’m not going anywhere, love.’ Aarush kissed her forehead. He looked into her deep, black eyes and kissed her lips gently. As their lips met, the bell rung. They had reached ground floor and the lift could open any second. They immediately backed off and behaved like strangers.
Once outside, Aarush ran to bring his car to the front of the building so that Radhika wasn’t standing in the scorching heat for long time. Radhika was feeling cold, even in this hot temperature.
Aarush brought the car, climbed down and opened the door for her. He had been doing this for her since years now, and not even once had he complained about it. Rather he loved doing it.
‘Thanks.’ Radhika sat inside and Aarush hopped into the car from the other side and started driving.
‘So, shall we go, ma’am?’ Aarush made Radhika smile.
They left and reached The Intercontinental at 02:20 pm. They were slightly late, but they had booked the table so it wasn’t a problem.
‘Sir, you have the table number 18 booked.’ The manager showed them the way.
‘Thanks.’ Aarush held Radhika’s hand and they both walked towards their table.
‘What’s the reason, Aarush?’ Radhika asked once they both were seated.
‘Nothing. Just that I was missing ‘us’ both.’ Aarush said as he held her hand between both his hands.’
Aarush ordered food and it arrived earlier than ever. After soup and snacks, they ordered the main-course. And as the main-course arrived, Aarush held Radhika’s hand again.
‘What’s happening Aarush, are you fine?’ Radhika knew something was wrong.
‘There’s one more reason to bring you here today…’ Aarush got up from his chair and kneeled down. Radhika closed her eyes. She knew what was coming up next.
‘I love you, Radhika…’ he pulled out an uncut diamond ring from the inner pocket of his jacket and slid it into Radhika’s ring finger. The people around them clapped and cheered.
‘Aarush…’ Radhika’s eyes were moist with tears.
‘Miss Radhika Jain, will you give me the privilege to be your husband for the rest of our lives? Will you marry me?’ Aarush spoke loud enough for everyone around them to hear. The people started shouting – ‘Say Yes! Say YES!’
‘Aarush…’ Radhika was crying. She knew Aarush had no idea about Koel being back in the city.
‘Radhika please…’ Aarush whispered and stared at her. He was still at his knees, demanding an answer.
‘I’m sorry, I can’t…’ Radhika got up and walked out.
Aarush was kneeling in the middle of the restaurant. The people whispered something and got back to their lives. Aarush rubbed his forehead in anger and disappointment. He couldn’t understand what Radhika wanted. But today, she had disappointed him beyond his tolerance. He saw her walk out of the restaurant. He didn’t make an attempt to stop her either.