She closed her eyes as her face was upturned allowing the beautiful raindrops to kiss her. The droplets of rain mixed with her tears as they rolled down slowly.
A single incident would be a changing point for a person to grow up to become an entirely different person that one ought to. She had that incident few years back. If it wouldn’t have happened, Geet thought, maybe just maybe she wouldn’t have been this way, pushing away a person time and again, unsure to trust and make herself vulnerable. She had built strong walls around her heart, and she was scared more than ever that her defences are going to crumble. She knew that if there’s anybody who could do that, it would be him; Maan.
She didn’t want it. She didn’t deserve any of it. However, the deep pain she felt in her heart told her otherwise, as her logical brain shushed a tiny voice of hope. Her rationality wanted to win the argument over her feelings.
Her heavy eye lids opened to look at the dark sky which didn’t reveal any hint of stars that she was used to look at.
“Can you see that bright blue star?” she heard Sameer’s voice in her ears faintly.
“That would be me”
A set of fresh tears stained her cheek as she made a visible effort to keep her eyes open, if only in the need to find the stars again, only to see the thunders in the sky that lightened the dark night, indicating the heavy storm that was lurking above. What would she not give to go back to that night where she and Sameer stood next to each other, watching stars?
She had never realized the presence of anyone else in the gazebo unless she felt a hand beside hers, over the metal railing that was tightly gripped by her now.
Her eyes raised to see the profile of Maan whose gaze was strictly before him, and for a moment, just a moment she felt her heart constrict with pain and she had to withdraw her hand, and move away if only to save her from falling apart before him.
She retreated her hand off the railing and was in a mind to go away, leaving him to his thoughts only if his hand had not captured hers when she turned.
When she looked at him now, his gaze arrested hers, and the deep brown eyes that had always made it impossible to look away, stared directly into her soul.
She lowered her eyes now, as the memories overwhelmed, as the ringing voice of Sameer was still felt, cutting her slice by slice.
She bit back a sob, even as her eyes closed shut, tears of hers flowing freely. Her insides trembled, as mindless agony embraced her.
The words she suppressed, the pain she bottled up inside became overwhelming and when she felt his warm grip on her shoulders, and the gentle whisper of her name from his lips, and his eyes that urged her silently, that was all that was needed for the thin thread inside her to snap and the dam to break, making a sob erupt from her heart as she wound her arms around his waist, and buried her face in his chest, as if to hide herself in his embrace from the demons that haunted her, from the agony that didn’t ever leave her, from the insecurities, from the pain, and from everything.
Her hands gripped his shirt at the back as her tears wet his shirt, her body trembling.
His hands that were lying on his sides were fisted for a moment before they raised slowly, withdrawn more than once, until the battle between his mind and heart finally subsided, until his arms found their way to lock her in his embrace, until he let go of the final thread that held him back and held her close to him, and closed his eyes, with his face bent so that his lips touched her hair.
His wild beating of heart beneath her ears lulled her slowly into a peaceful trance, as his hands secured around her.
The want and need of belonging somewhere finally was realized as she revelled in the abode she found, as she finally felt home.
“Geet” the reverent whisper his lips spoke made her eyes open, made her come back to reality as she broke away from his arms, and stumbled while stepping back.
The tail of her Sari that was stuck in his amulet stopped her from moving further back, as she stared at him, who took two steps forward for each step she took back, until she was cornered against the cool metal railing.
He raised his hand to eye level showing the tangle of her Sari’s beads that were stuck to his amulet. Her eyes lowered as her trembling hands raised and worked to free themselves free of the tangles they were caught in. She however felt him coming closer, and then more, until he stood so close that made it impossible for her not to raise her eyes to him, until his hands were rested on her either side on the railing, not quite touching her, yet holding her to him.
As her doe eyes looked into his, he couldn’t stop himself from raising his hand that now touched her cheek, and saw her eyes close slowly.
His thumb felt the trickle of a wayward tear before he leaned forward to kiss away her tears. Her hands that were squeezed between them, now trembled at the sudden unexpected touch of his warm lips against her skin.
She felt his whisper that touched her face, and she hesitated first but opened her eyes to bare her soul before him. The glassy eyes of his expressed to her all that he can never put in words, and the intensity in those chocolate eyes shook her, as she raised her hand to touch his cheek, only to stop herself at the threshold.
She turned her face, curling her fingers into a fist, at her inability of holding back, and her inability of letting go.
She wanted to take this step, yet she couldn’t. The ties of insecurity, self loathe, that bound her were so strong that she couldn’t give herself to anyone yet. Not to him. He deserved better. Not her. Never her.
The battle she fought with herself had always poured out to him as her rejection.
“Let go” the voice he heard now was soft, almost fading away in the rain that was pouring.
“How many more times” she heard his voice, and raised her glassy eyes to his, which had an impassive expression about them. But this time when his hands touched her cheek, she curled her face into his palm, and closed her eyes, as another wayward tear slipped out of her eyes to kiss the edge of his fingers.
“You still want me to go away?” she heard his voice, as he stroked the skin on her cheek.
“Still?” she heard his breath fall on her lips and opened her eyes to face her reflection in his eyes.
His free hand curled up around her bare waist and pulled her closer, as breath swished out of her system for a moment.
“Still?” this time his words touched her lips, close as they were.
“Maan—” her quivering lips managed to utter before her words were cut short with the sudden swoop with which he took her lips in his.
It was a minute or a mere second, she knew not. Time slipped by, and the only thing she felt was his hands on her waist, and on her cheek, and his lips that touched gently, parted for a moment before they took hers with a raw passion, caressing, exploring, revering, making her knees melt into jelly. If it weren’t for his grip around her waist, she would have long back melted into a puddle.
His stubble pinched and pierced, but the harshness against her soft skin tickled and gave her a soft pain. With a groan, he pulled her closer to him, as the kiss became demanding and needy. One of his hands slipped slightly from her blouse to the wet bare waist, and she sucked in a deep breath as she was pushed to reality hard.
With a herculean effort, she pulled away from him, and for a moment, just a moment, the guarded expression on his face slipped, and something in his eyes shook her, as she looked at his tousled hair.
She looked at her hands as she realized that, she did that. His hair. When did her hands climbed up to his hair, when did she take that liberty with him, since when had she been listening to her heart?
She noticed a sudden loss of warmth and looked up only to find his back to her. And at that moment she had known what she had seen in his eyes. A flash of something akin to…pain… of rejection.
As he walked away from her, she saw his rigid posture and knew he was doing what she had asked him to. Letting go of her.
“Maan” Her sudden call surprised herself, and she pressed her hand to her mouth when he had stopped.
As moments ticked by, she stood watching at the man whose back was facing her. She saw his hands that were balled into fists. Something snapped in her that very moment as she crossed the distance between them in quick steps, stopping just when she were behind him.
After a heartbeat, she had lowered her eyes, letting the tears slip by, even as her lips trembled with the beginning of a watery smile.
She closed the little distance between them, with her hands going around his waist, as she hugged him from behind, her face pressed against the taut muscles of his back.
“Don’t go” she had said finally and felt his hand on her palm after a beat of silence.