I rub my eyes to believe what I am looking at..
I ask to Kia in a low voice by narrowing my eyes, "do you see Aarav there? Or it's just an illusion of my mind.."
Kiara is surprised too. She replies with her eyes on Aarav, "if that's an illusion then my mind is just in the same state.."
Anurag clears his throat, "oh just shut up you two...he is really here.."
I ask to Anurag with suspicious look, "did you know from the first?" Anurag denies, "of course not.. "
I again look at Aarav, he is still standing on a staircase, with crossing his hands on his chest and still his eyes on me.
I am excited...happy.. nervous... embarrassed.... thinking that is it just a coincidence that Aarav is here on my birthday or he came for my birthday???
I get up from the chair and say merrily, "hey Aarav... what a great surprise!!!..when did you arrive? Please join us.
He slowly gets towards us by answering, "early morning" flatly. I smile, "wow.. great.., now we..." He shuts me off by raising his hand in the air and asks me with annoyed face, "you haven't given me answer of my question... so tell me, why do you wanna take a leave today?"
I shrug carelessly, "cause it's my special day.." he rolls his eyes, "so what?" I look at him with disbelief. He asks directly, "finished with your breakfast? I nod, "hmmm". "Okay so now go and get ready.." he adds firmly.
I say annoyingly like a stubborn child, "but I don't wanna go today..I want to spend time with you people.."
He comes to my chair. Kiara tries to defend me "it's okay Aarav.. it's her birthday. Let her enjoy it."
Aarav looks at Kiara and says angrily, "stop pampering her, she is not a child now.. okay" then again turns his face to me and utters in a cold voice, "go and get ready." I argue with irritation on my face, "but its really late, I won't be able to reach on time.."
He furrows, "well you will.. if you get up without any further delay..and by the way I know a shortcut to the studio.. so don't worry I'll drop you..just.. go.. and.. get... ready..." he spoke by smothering his anger.
Anurag tries to say something by raising his hand but I stop him by grabbing his hand.
I get up and rush to my room stomping my feet angrily, change to whatever outfit I get from the closet.. tie my hairs in a tight bun without combing.
I mutter to my self annoyingly.. what a great beginning of the day!!! Happy birthday Raavi!!!
I hurriedly come downstairs, Aarav is ready and waiting for me. I caste a glance at Kia and Anurag's face and leave with Aarav.
As we get in, he starts the engine and speedily drives his car out.. I am silent as a tomb, burning from rage inside, cause he totally spoiled my mood.
As he gets his car on the main road, he looks at me and states angrily, "you don't need to make that face okay.., it's about impressions"
I argue, "you are telling me all these cause I got internship because of you right?"
He answers annoyingly, "you are not getting it Raavi, I would have said the same things whether you have got the internship because of me or not.. so it's not about me okay."
I laugh sarcastically, "oh c'mon Aarav, it's always about you..that's the reason when you found out that I am capable of doing this internship then you offered me this job ..remember 'checking efforts' things right?"
Aarav almost shouts with anger, "for God's sake Raavi..don't bring up those things here okay.. I am just telling you, not to take a leave without proper reason.."
I am furious, I roll my eyes and say, "without proper reason..it's my f*****g birthday.. doesn't it look like a reason to you?"
Aarav looks at me with anger,"just watch your language..okay." he snarls.
I smile sarcastically, "oh.. so Mr.nice guy has been offended now..!!"
He looks at me in resentment and utters, "can't believe that you are friend of mine??!!"
I reply with bitterness in my voice, "you came to offer me your friendship... don't blame me for that!"
He sneers, "yeah.. but don't make me regret it now..."
His words offeneded me very badly, I look at him but it looks like he doesn't bother about my feelings, cause he is driving his car like nothing happened.
I turn my face and look outside the window, Oh so he is regretting my friendship now. I try to conceal my anger, my eyes are moist with tears.
I want to yell at him so many things. I want to end this so called friendship if he is regretting it. But I would be remiss if I do so.. I don't want to be ungrateful for the efforts, he made!
I close my eyes and try to calm my self down. I am fighting back my tears. I don't want to show him my weakness.
I should have known before that he doesn't care for anyone, but for himself. All he just worried about is his reputations. For that he can do anything.. even spoil your birthdays and hurt your feelings.
Guess what... he didn't even wish me!!! Here I was thinking that he has came for my birthday..oh god I was so wrong.
It hurts....so badly, I keep quiet for the rest of the journey, biting my lower lip.
At the studio. He stops the car. As I am about to get out, he tries to mock me, "hey Raavi...don't set the studio on fire with your anger." And laughs.
I sharply look at him and reply in a cold voice, "don't worry I won't do anything that will make you repent in future, so just chill Mr. Dixit" and hurriedly step out of his car by slamming its door shut.
Upon entering into the studio, I see that my desk is decorated with balloons and ribbons. My all colleague wish me happy birthday by gathering around me. I get gifts from them too. It came as a totally surprise to me, for a fraction of time, I forgot my anger and thank all of them with my whole heart and declare that lunch is on me.
Today all I have to do is some editing on my computer. So after a short celebration of my birthday I start doing my work. Of course I am doing all things just mechanically without any interest.
At 1:00pm we take our lunch together. All the time I fake a smile on my face cause I am so disturbed after arguing with Aarav and I am not in a slightest mood to celebrate my birthday.
It is 3 O'clock. Shalini ma'am calls me in her office. Check on my editing work and wishes me happy birthday. She informs me, "I think your work here, is done for today, so you should take a leave now after all it's your birthday" she gives me a motherly smile. Oh god I miss my mom.
I deny, "it is so nice of you ma'am.. but I don't wanna go." She raises her brows, "really.. cause someone is already waiting for you outside.. so just wind up your work and enjoy rest of the day.."
I really don't have any idea, who on earth is waiting for me now!!. So I simply say, "okay.. thank you ma'am". And do as she said.
As I get outside, I see that Aarav is there in his car.
I think by twitching my lips, if this place wouldn't have been my working place, then I never would have gone with him, but alas! I have to ride with him again.
So I annoyingly get in his car, without even looking at him. As he starts driving, he switches on the music player to play my favourite songs. I observe him with corner of my eyes and think do whatever you wanna do, I am not gonna talk to you.
After a while he clears his throat and asks, "hey Raavi.. can you open that glovebox for me?" I twitch my lips and open that glovie, I find a small gift box inside, my lips get stretched in a smile.. but I don't want to forgive him this easily, so I hold myself back immediately.
He asks me to take that gift box out and open it. Of course I am curious, so I open it. Oh dear....my jaw drops, and my eyes get widened as I see a pink sapphire and diamond bracelet, all I can say is, "wow!!! It's so beautiful."
Aarav smiles at me, "like it...I knew it... happy birthday Raavi." I look at him in disbelief, "wait..is this bracelet for me???"
Aarav laughs, "well I think, it's only your birthday today and of course I don't wear girly stuff so..." I argue, "but it looks so expensive?!!"
Aarav asks me back, "so.... what? Don't you like it?" I annoyingly answer, "of course I like it but I am sorry I can't take these much expensive gift...so.."
Aarav utters in a soft voice, "okay so you are still angry about morning.." I close my eyes by leaning back to the seat and sigh, "I don't want to talk about morning... but believe me..it's not the reason that I am not accepting this gift" I look at him, his eyes are on the road so I look away and add, "this bracelet is so expensive for a gift so.." I close the box and put it back.
Aarav rolls his eyes, his jaw gets clenched but doesn't speak anything..well I am glad for that.
After that, on our way back home, both of us are silent as grave.
Upon reaching at home, he drops me and rushes his car out of that place, without even wishing me bye.
I roll my eyes and go inside. Whole house is empty. There is no sign of Anurag and Kia.. not even Haresh and his family.
Where the hell are they now? I call them out loudly but it looks like they are not at home.
I call them on their phone, but no one is receiving. So I go to kitchen and prepare tea for myself as my head is aching badly due to only two hour's sleep.
I was so happy yesterday, thanks to Aarav, he has just ruined everything, now he has gone somewhere, leaving me behind, all alone in his house. I really want to cry out loud. This is the worst day of my life and worst birthday ever.
I want to talk to my parents, I call them they too aren't receiving. Oh god I am really pissed off now.
So I just drink a tea sitting on a couch, all I want right now, is a cold shower and long nap, I don't have any joy left to celebrate my birthday. I'll wake up when they'll be back I think.
As I go to my room, My mood changes totally when I see that a very beautiful pink dress is laying on my bed with a message from Kia, 'hey dear, hope you are at home early.. get ready in one hour...and yeah there is a matching sandals under the bed...so just try them on..!!
I mumble to myself, Oh Kia..I love you so much.. I promptly move to the bathroom with a big smile, my headache just flew away.
I put that dress on, look at myself in the mirror, I love the dress, it is sleeveless, round neck, below knee length, semi asymmetrical satin attire.
I don't have much time so I just curl my hairs to make them wavy and keep them open. Accessorize my self with silver diamond earrings, and silver diamond wrist watch.Wear very light make up, complete my look with beautiful pink glitter jelly sandals and small pink handbag.
I was hooing that they will all appear out of nowhere and burst out, 'surprise' but nothing happens so I step down the stairs to check if anybody is there?
As I reach at the corner of a glass staircase, I perceive that Aarav is sitting on a couch, talking to someone on a phone. Well he too is ready in his formalwear.
As he notices me, he cuts the call, astonished. Oh god I am so nervous now, where are the others? Please show up quickly.
Aarav gets up from the couch and approaches me, regards me thoroughly, I am standing still, staring at the steps,confused and excited.
Aarav speaks with amazement in his voice, "you look perfect,except...?" I slowly raise my confused eyes to look at him, and before I can speak anything, he takes that bracelet out of his pocket and gently slips it down to my right wrist by grabbing my hand, "now you look perfect!!!" He utters huskily by gently releasing my hand. Oh god I have a goosebumps all over my hand. I hope he hadn't seen them.
I hesitantly say, "but..." he stops me in an instance, "we should go now, Kia is desperate, you've already taken half an hour more." I smile and join him. Should I say, still nervous.
As we get in the car I ask, "so where are we going?" He answers, "you will know when we'll get there." Then again he is silent and I am busy, guessing about what can be the surprise?
Around one and half hour later we reach to a big mall, Aarav parks his car. I am smiling with sparkling eyes in excitement.
Inside the mall, Aarav leads me on a fifth floor- a party area. It is a huge party hall with game zone.
As I step inside, I jump from excitement and joy cause whole area is decorated with pink and white balloons.
And before I can pull myself together and express my feelings, I see my parents entering into the hall.. Taken aback, I can only stare at them open mouthed.
They walk fast to me and tightly hug me, wishing, "happy birthday dear". Oh god I am so delighted.
After a while they release me. They observe me with amazement. I ask to Aarav, "by the way where are Kia and Anurag?" Suddenly I hear, "We are here darling." I turn my face in the voice's direction.
The smile on my face gets widened cause Kia and Anurag are with Ved, Anisha, Kartik and Tina.
Haresh and his family are with them too.
I say with astonishment, "what... the... heck..!!! Oh my god you all are here for my birthday... I am overwhelmed with joy and surprise. Of course I never have imagined that my all friends will fly to Mumbai just for my birthday.
They hurriedly come to me, I hug all of them one by one, jumping from excitement and say with tears in my eyes, "thank you... thank you... thank you so much.. all of you." You have really surprised me and I am so glad for that. Oh god this is the best birthday ever...!!!
Tina comes to me and whispers in my ear, "Now wipe your tears, otherwise all your make up will wash away and you'll end up looking 'Bhutani'. Then I am not gonna give my gift to you". I laugh to that and reply with shrug, "who cares?" I am so damn happy right now that I have a friends like you..you all are my biggest gift, I can't wish for more than this."
She shrugs, "as you wish.. cause mine is an expensive one.." then we both laugh to that. In the end She wishes me and gives me the gift. They all wish me one by one.
After sometimes, when I am myself again, I ask by looking at them, "by the way when did you all arrive?" My mom answers, "today morning..at around 10:00 o'clock"
My eyes get narrowed as I ask again, "who's behind all these?" Kia replies with a naughty smile, "your dad and Anurag." I smile at both of them, "it is a really great surprise for me.." Anurag adds by looking at Aarav, "well but Aarav has surprised us all." Aarav scratches his head in embarrassment.
I am aghast, "oh...so Aarav was not part of your plan." Ved answers, "nope.." Anisha adds, "but thank god he came, otherwise it would have been tough for us to arrange this surprise party."
I nod by twitching my lips. As our arguments flashes back in my mind.
Kartik changes the topic swiftly, "okay yaar where is the cake, I am hungry now.." we all chortle to that.
My dad makes a phone call and within ten minutes two men enters with a medium sized caketable, with chocolate truffle cream cake on it.
I blow the candles and cut the cake. After eating cake, I get busy in bursting balloons with Anurag, Kartik,Namrata and Annanya I am laughing my lungs out. In between I catch a glimpse of Aarav, He is smiling at me, amazed.
Then we barge into the game zone, me and Kartik step on a dancing machine, with Namrata and Ananya, as it's our favourite. Then we try many other games too.
In between playing games, I observe that Aarav and my dad are busy in serious conversation. Of course Anurag is busy with my mom and Kia.
Ved is with Anisha, and as for Tina, she is talking to someone on a phone by playing some fighting video game.
As for Haresh and Putina, they are looking at their daughters with contentment.
In the end we altogether play bowling game. Aarav is best in it and I am the worst.
Then we leave the game zone and go for dinner. Though no one is hungry.
It is 9:00pm when we leave the mall, my mom informs me that they have a flight to catch at 12:30am. I insist them to stay at least one night with me, but they all have important stuff to do, so I let them leave.
I want my parents to stay but my dad is busy in his new project and my mom has to be present as a chief guest in some inauguration tomorrow, so I just give up annoyingly.
From the mall, Haresh's family leaves for home and we directly rush to the airport. We all girls are in Aarav's car and the rest of us are in taxi.
At the airport, we hardly reach on time, so as the car stops, they all step out, hug me and wish me bye in the parking and dash off to the terminal. I wave them bye with so much pain.
To my surprise, Aarav bids them too. I mean he is not leaving with them.. why?
I think..oh god please tell me, he is not going to stay here with me...oh dear what am I gonna do? I can't stay with him..
So I reluctantly ask in a low voice, "are you not leaving?"
He looks at me, his lips get stretched in a naughty smirk, "actually I am... but my flight is at 2:00am.. so I think I still have sometime to spend with you here.."
I am totally confused.. I ask, "what...? are you not going to go home?"
He rolls his eyes, "Raavi, it's been only 19 days..I supposed to stay at Singapore for?..."and his brows raised as he looks at me. I add,"one month.."
I cover my mouth with my hand, my eyes get widened, I am just stunned "oh.. my..god.. you've came from Singapore only for my birthday...can't believe this..you are crazy man..!!!"
He is laughing, "no..no..no.it's not just your birthday, there were other important things too.."
I narrow my eyes and look at him, "ok...things like what?" He rolls his forefinger and try to recall, "umm......" in the end he gives up by twitching his lips, "okay..it's only birthday..I think.."
Glimpses of whole day flashes back in my mind, I heartily apologise, "You've came this far for me and I didn't even talk to you properly.. I am sorry... really sorry.."
He shrugs, "it's okay..fault was mine...just forget it okay.." he pauses for a while and asks innocently, "by the way.. don't you wanna thank me with a hug, like you have thanked all the other"
taken aback, I am red from the embarrassment... I look around, the parking is almost empty. I don't know what to say.. so I start gabbling nervously, "really ..? do I have to?..I mean... I shouldn't...should I?no..no.. can I.. ?" Oh no what on earth am I speaking? I have to bite my tongue to stop myself.. oh my god.. I am damn confused.
But before I come to my senses, Aarav pulls me closer by grabbing my hands, and wraps his strong arms around my waist. I feel his rock hard chest on my cheeks..wait..what is happening..?
I am just feeling his warm breath on my neck, and his heartbeats on my cheek..I have a goosebumps all over my body, I am in a shock so I freeze for a second.. then I realize what is happening? and I relax my self, I close my eyes with smile on my face. I just melt myself in his warm embrace.
If it would be a race of heartbeats then my heart would have been the winner..I bet. As it is hammering inside my ribcage..I am not in a state to think or decide anything.
I cross my fingers behind his back and wish..please god this is not a dream.. this is not a dream..
I want to seize this moment. I am on top of the world .. Fireworks are going off in my mind and stars are in my eyes..
He whispers huskily in my ear, "I am really sorry for what I've said earlier..you know that.. I didn't mean it right?" I just nod, "humm.."
After sometimes..I gently break the embrace, step away from him smiling. Aarav looks at me, he asks by gently grabbing my arms, "please tell me you are not angry at me."
I smile and answer, "of course..I am not..I can't be.." He smiles with satisfaction, then glance at his wrist watch and utters annoyingly, "time to go.... you too should leave now, it's late, I guess you know way back home...otherwise use GPS..okay and call me when you get home... without forgetting..okay.. key is in the car.. so get in and leave..." I am not able to speak anything..I just nod at him. Why can't I just make him stay with me forever? I don't like him going away..my heart hurts badly.
He takes his backpack out from the car, I, with a heavy heart take a driver's seat and wave him bye.
All my way back I am in a trance like state..I have blushing smile on my face..I literally don't have any idea, how I drove back to home.
I park the car and tip toe into the house and gently slide into my room, jump on a bed on my back, swinging my legs off the bed. All I can think is about that HUG, oh god how can it be so special to me?..it was just a hug..
My phone rings..of course it is from Aarav, my smile gets widened. I pick up, "hi.." His voice looks tense, "are you at home? why has it took so long?"
I reply, "yeah..I am..home..and you?" He answers, "waiting area.." I nod, "hmm..". He clears his throat and says, "so meet you after 15 days...okay.. take care and yeah don't try to take a leave.." He adds with chuckle, after a short pause he sighs, "so I have to go now... good bye Raavi."
I reply with big smile, "trust me..I won't disappoint you..so you too take care and good bye Aarav.." and I hang up.
I keep my phone aside and hug a pillow tightly, I ask to myself doubt fully, " is it possible that Aarav is falling for me....?"