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The clock showed 12:00am and we were yet in the hospital as Danny was supposed to be admitted there for the next 2 days.

My phone buzzed, Mumma calling ……excusing myself, I answered her call.

Mumma – Where are you my child? Its too late. Come home soon.

Me- Mumma, my friend Danny is injured badly and he is hospitalized so if you don’t mind can I be here with him and other friends?

Mumma –Ok, take care and I hope he will be fine soon ..I will probe about the situation when you will be back home in the morning.

Me-Yes Mumma Thank you! bye .

Mumma- Bye!

I sat close to Danny, he was drowsy as he had taken a high dose of medicines. He with his almost close eyes took my hand in his and told me not to leave him. Seeing him in such a pain, tears rolled out of my eyes.

If Shayan would have been there infront of me ,I would have slapped him. Bloody fucker! What the hell does he think about himself! I murmured. Salina was staring at me as if she would lynch me. I ignored her and told Danny’s friend to leave if they wish to, as I was going to be with Danny tonight. They were OK with that .One by one, they took leave from Danny. Last came Salina. She leaned down , brought her lips close to Danny’s cheeks, kissing him, she spoke ‘Get well soon Danny’. Pretty soon, her eyes were back on me.

Saying goodbye, all of them left. Danny was still holding my hand. Sitting at his bedside ,I felt helpless . I cuddled him with a kiss on his neck .As he felt my lips, he ran his hand gently through my hairs, pulling myself little up. My eyes caught his, he was looking at me with his gleaming eyes and brought me back to his warm embrace. I sank my face into his chest .It was like a friendly hug but it comforted me to the different level .

In his arms for 10-15 minutes, being thirsty, I uncoupled myself and drank water from the jug placed beside Danny’s bed. Again I sat to his bedside and in no time, my eyes shut off.

In this hell situation, the horrible stuff that I had faced slipped out of my mind. When I opened my eyes ,I saw Danny was staring at me with a smile on his face. I unwillingly pulled myself away with my eyes half close and a yawn, his eyes were still on me. He got up really close to my face with his right hand, he moved my flicks and tugged them behind my left ear . I was confused and had no idea how to react .

After getting fresh, I told Danny to call his dad. He called him. Soon his dad reached the hospital. He consulted the doctor and then came in the room where I and Danny were gabbing. His dad behaved normal as if he was habituated with it.

“How did you get injured my boy?” He asked.

“Papa, I was driving and met with an accident. (Danny lied) Papa, I am fine. You could leave for your work. Aariyana is with me.”

His dad gave him hug and his debit card. Thanking me, he left .

“Danny ,my mumma called me last night and told me to be back at home in the morn. You also know I don’t want to leave but I have to ,else she would be worried baby. I will be back within an hour .Shall I leave ?” I asked.

“Ok honey. Go run and be back within an hour else I will come to pick you up.” He said .

“Stupid you !” (with a good bye hug) I left.

Reaching home, I hugged Mumma .She gave me a brooding look asking about my dress. I lied to her saying that my dress was torn, so I had to change. Her next question was : how did Danny get injured? Again lying to her, I replied that he was driving and meet with an accident .

“Ok beta. You go ,get fresh and take rest.”

“No mumma, I have extra classes so I have to leave within an hour .”

I ran to my bedroom .Putting my phone aside ,I took out my pants, t-shirt, inners from my wardrobe and walked in the bathroom. My mind was blank as I sat down in the shower. The things that happened last night had fucked me up .The time that I spent with Danny last night in the hospital gave me some solace in between the sea of stress.

I wanted to share these things, but with whom was a seek. I stared at the tattoo and tried to figure out what connection it had with the emblem on the coat of the doctor. My phone rang ,I heard the ring inside the bathroom. I quickly dressed and came out. It was Danny calling, I called him back.

Danny – “Hello aariyana!”

Me – “yes Danny.”

Danny – “My mom is here with me .You take rest and come whenever you wish to. No hurry baby.”

Me-”Ok, see you soon. take care.”

Danny –”yes, sweetheart. Bye.”

Me – “Bye honey!”

Notification- ‘low battery’!

I searched for the charger. I remembered it was in my school bag. I took the bag and opened it .Fuck…! ‘The envelope’. I was terrified ,my hand were frozen . On opening it, I saw a note written.

‘Cafe soho’- The place where I and Shayan had our first “so called DATE”. I doubted if it was Shayan playing a prank. I called Danny and told him that I couldn’t be with him today as I had to be at my place. He was upset but I had no other option. I really wanted to meet Aariyaman and ask him about the envelopes he passed to me.

I kept staring my tattoo. Tears burst forth like water from a dam, spilling down my face. I press my head against the wall. Mumma called me asking about my classes. I told her that I was not going. I had to go out at 8:00pm .She called me for lunch,but I refused saying that I wanted to sleep. I was so damn scared , I had no idea what to do next. I just waited to see Aariyaman. I made a sketch of the tattoo in my notebook and kept staring it.

“Oh! Aari ,come hug me my child ! how are you?” my dad surprised me.

Papa….I ran ,cuddled him and whoop. I saw him after months as he was out of the country for his business work. His jolly face made me gleeful. We both sat and had a long gossip. I felt chirpy with him.

Clock showed 7;30pm. Lying to dad was really tough thing ,but I did. Getting ready, I left for café soho .Reaching there, I took the same seat, murmured all the abuses I knew and ended with ‘I hate you shayan’. Waiting for Aariyaman, but yet no sign of him. Clock showed 9.30pm .

Again, a prank ! My head down in my hands and my hairs over my face ,I was frustrated and had no more patience to sit and wait .I stood up, took my belongings and approached to exit. from there I saw a crowd on the road side. ‘Not again’. I ran ,Running towards the crowd, I made space for myself. What I saw was Aariyaman laying in a pool of blood! Fear overwhelmed me .I was shivering uncontrollably. No doubt ,my relation with Aariyaman was not good but who would help him if I did not ? I had to be with him and take him to the hospital as soon as possible. I sat there with his head on my lap. I noticed a tattoo on his left hand little above his wrist far from his palm.

The Ambulance arrived and we took Aariyaman to the same hospital where Danny was admitted. Aariyaman was taken in for his treatment. His mom-dad came to know about his accident. They came running with a loud cry ‘Aariyaman’.

What did the tattoo on Aariyaman’s wrist resemble to ?

Was it merely an accident or did someone hit him intentionally ?

What did Aariyaman want to tell Aariyana in the cafe ?

Read the next chapter to find out .