Aarush planned a date with Radhika the next day, lying to his parents that he had some important office work and arranging a ferry trip for them to Ajanta and Ellora Caves, making it sure that they won’t return till night-time!
The door of his apartment was knocked several times in the noon. Aarush rushed to open it and found Radhika standing with a bouquet of red roses in her hands.
‘Come in…’ Aarush dragged her in, threw the bouquet aside and gave her a warm deep kiss on her lips.
‘I’ve missed you so much…’ he picked her in his arms and took her to the bedroom.
‘What’s the hurry?’
‘Why not? It’s been almost a month since we…’
‘Month? It’s been only 21 days Aarush!’
’21 days? Is that less?’ Aarush unbuttoned his shirt.
‘And you need to recover first, we can’t…’
‘What recover? I’m fine. I visited four temples yesterday, how much more do you want me to recover?’
‘Not that, I mean, are you sure you can do it?’
‘Hell yes, baby! Try me out…’ Aarush gave her another kiss.
‘Aarush…’ Radhika backed off.
‘What is wrong with you?’ Aarush walked a few steps back and sat in the bean bag.
‘Aarush, please don’t take me wrong, but I really need to clear some things out before we are back to…you know…back to what we were before your accident.’
‘What things? Don’t tell me it’s about Koel.’
‘Yes, it is.’
Aarush let out a deep sigh. He knew what was coming ahead.
‘I am NOT normal yet, Aarush. I have been pretending to be normal because your parents are here and I don’t want to create a scene or something. I always wanted to talk to you alone for some-time, which is why I have been pretending to be normal and fine so that you don’t suspect me for something wrong, and then force me to talk it out, like you always do! I wanted to take ‘my’ time this time, I wanted to talk it when it was convenient for both of us.’
‘Listen, if I tell you all the things, you are not going to believe me, and that would rather end up hurting you more, something which I can’t afford. So please, just forget whatever happened and move on…’
‘Aarush it might be easy for you to say that! I can’t move on like this. What if it was my ex-boyfriend and I would have spent a night with him and had this accident the next morning? Wouldn’t you want to clear things out at least? Although you would have just broken up with me, from as much as I know you, but I am here with you. I am not running away, not breaking up, not leaving you alone, and I just want to clear some things out. Can’t you at least give me that?’
Aarush knew that Radhika was absolutely right. But he knew that from here, things could take two opposite directions. They could either just split into pieces and crush their relationship, or make their bond even stronger. What Aarush didn’t know was, whether this discussion would be worth it, or not.
‘I will believe you Aarush, try me. At least tell me something?’
‘I don’t understand where to start from…’
‘I knew this would happen. So I have this…’ Radhika took out a paper from her purse.
‘What is this?’
‘It’s a questionnaire of ten questions. I will ask you the questions written here, and you have to answer them one by one, skipping none of them.’
‘And after you get all the answers?’
‘After I get all the answers, I will throw this piece away and we will be back to normal.’
‘And what if the opposite happens?’ Aarush wasn’t in any mood to take a chance.
‘I promise. Nothing will happen. If you promise, to be honest.’ Radhika looked into Aarush’s eyes. Aarush was getting nervous, his forehead was covered with thin sheet of sweat and his palms were getting restless. He started rubbing his hands.
‘First question: Do you love Koel?’
‘Second question: Were you in touch with Koel during our relationship?’
‘No. Never! I would never cheat on you, Radhika!’
‘Third question: Did you ever talk to Koel after her marriage?’
‘No! I told you that!’
‘Fourth question: Did you spend a night with Koel before you had an accident?’
‘Fifth question: Did you have sex with her that night? If no, what did you do all night long?’
‘No, I did not have sex with her. We just talked for old time’s sake. I told her about you. She told me about her failed marriage, that’s it.’
‘Sixth question: Did Koel hinted you about her feelings for you?’
‘She still loves you, can’t you see it?’
‘Then let it be, Radhika. I can’t screw my present because of my past anymore. I’ve already screwed enough years of my life after that girl and I can’t afford to do it anymore.’
‘Alright, seventh question: If given a chance, will you marry Koel?’
‘What the fuck, who made up this stupid questionnaire?’ Aarush got up in rage.
‘Just answer it. I told you, if I get all the answers, things might bounce back to normal.’
‘NO! HELL NO! I will never ever marry Koel. I want to marry you, can’t you see it? You can see the love for me in Koel’s eyes, but you can’t see love for yourself in my eyes!’
‘Okay, eighth question: Did you and Koel made out? Not sex, but you know, kiss? Hug?’
‘What kind of childish question is this, Radhika?’
‘Aarush, please just answer it.’
‘Radhika, no! I didn’t touch her, okay? And neither did I let her touch me. This body…this man is all yours to touch. Nobody has any right over it except for you, do you understand?’ Aarush was hurt by her questions, but he was thankful that at least Radhika wasn’t running away like Koel did.
‘Fine, ninth question: Do you want to be friends with Koel?’
‘Is that a yes?’
‘Not exactly. I mean, I don’t see anything wrong in being friends with her. She’s a nice person after all.’
‘So that means, that’s a yes. Then I should also start catching up with my ex-boyfriends and be friends with them. They were nice guys too!’
‘Radhika, you are crossing your limits now…’
‘Whoa! When it comes to you, then no limits, no restrictions, and when it’s upon me, I have to behave like some eighteenth century woman, what a misogynist pig you are!’
‘Radhika, if you don’t want me to be friends with her, I will not be friends with her. Alright? Same applies to me. If I don’t want you to be friends with any of your asshole ex-boyfriends, you can’t even say a ‘hi’ to them, is that clear?’
‘Clear it to yourself Aarush. You can’t even say a ‘hi’ to Koel from now onward!’
‘Fine. I will not.’
‘Good. Last question: Was Koel pregnant with your baby?’
Aarush went blank. How did Radhika know this?