|Image Courtesy: Google images|
Suprita was frantically finishing packing. Generally, in the sense when she wanted, she was a very neat person. But most of the time, only she could find her stuff in her stuff. Finally when she reached to the last few items to be thrown into her suitcase, she opened her cupboard and took out a beautiful yellow saree, a very simple but elegant saree. Which made even Suprita look like a sensual woman.
She ran her hand on it, admiring the fabric and the lovely colour. She was not very sure, that this would be useful for her. But she believed in having contingent plans. She finally packed it and closed the suitcase with a bang.
Sujay was crossing off items from his checklist. He was the most Methodical and Meticulous person on this part of the globe. His things were organized in such a manner which would put a ultimate housewife into envy. Finally he took out his black suit. He never wore it, even though it was 4 years old. He thought for a moment “Will he need it this time?” He didn’t know, but this was the best he had. He finally packed it and closed the suitcase with soft click.
He locked his house behind him, and climbed the cab which was waiting for him.
He knew he reached Suprita’s house at the right time, and he also knew that she was always late. And also that no matter how late she was, he would wait calmly for her.
Suprita finally came out of the apartment building dragging her suitcase, which looked as huge as two of her.
After securing the luggage, finally she sat down beside him and the cab started towards the airport.
Sujay asked “We are going for a 10 day trip, and almost 2 of those days will be spent in travelling. How much are you carrying for 8 days??”
Suprita answered as a matter of fact “What?? I am just carrying some comfortable jeans and t shirts. As this is more of an unofficial trip than official, I didn’t take much of the office outfits”
“And how many jeans and t shirts are there??”
Suprita huffed and puffed but didn’t answer that. She knew why he was asking and He knew she was not answering. Sujay smiled to himself, imagining the state when she opened that overflowing suitcase.
Their colleagues were already present at the airport when they both reached. And everybody looked at Suprita accusingly for being late, which even they knew was an obvious answer.
Suprita was annoyed by the assumption, and she said “I was ready on time, it was Jay who was late? As usual”
Sujay was grinning beside her and he answered “Yeah she is right, “I” was late “as usual”…”
Mahesh, Parul and Tony grumbled something among themselves but didn’t answer.
Finally all of them boarded their plane which was bound to Dubai, from there they had to catch a connecting flight to New York. Parul was placed to sit between Sujay and Suprita.
Suprita liked Parul on her own, but god forbid if she came between Sujay and herself, then Suprita would become unusually annoying and angry. And today was no different. She sat grumbling beside Parul, to which Parul seemed totally immune and she engaged in an animated conversation with Sujay.
Suprita and Sujay studied in the same college, but when they joined the same office, they became best friends. Their friendship was legendary in the office, and everybody was surprised as to how they both were just friends when they spent every spare moment with each other. After an year in the office, they both got shifted to different teams. Still whenever each found a bit of time, they were found together.
In 5 years of their friendship, they grew in their career and much closer to each other. They had their own string of crushes, relationships, boyfriends and girlfriends. They bought their own houses and cars. Everything changed around, below and above them. But nothing changed between them.
After 4 hours and 5 minutes when the plane touched down in the Dubai Airport, Suprita was angry beyond words. Parul knew that Suprita didn’t like her sitting beside Sujay, because she thought that place is hers. But Parul had a huge crush on Sujay and she wanted to annoy Suprita.
As soon as they entered the waiting lounge to wait for their connecting flight. Suprita went to buy herself a huge packet of chips. Sujay dogged behind her and while she bought the chips, he asked in a slow voice “Why are you upset?”
“You are buying chips. That means you are upset, beyond upset”
Suprita just snorted with disbelief.
Sujay smiled and said “Prita, I wont sit beside Parul on the New York flight. In this flight I can’t possible tell her to change seats with you na??”
Suprita gave a sarcastic smile “Why should I be upset regarding her. Oh by the way I saw the way she drooled over you and you thoroughly enjoyed her attention. I don’t care if you sit beside her, I just can’t abide so much Public Display of Affection that’s all.”
Sujay stared at her for a moment and said “So it doesn’t bother you at all in any other way?”
Sujay started moving away and he said “Fine then, in the next flight I will make sure that we don’t disturb you and sit in the two seater” and he turned away from her.
Suprita was looking at his back with huge disbelief written all over her face. Then she took a deep breath and said to herself “It doesn’t matter, I don’t care with whom he flirts.”
When they boarded the connecting flight, Suprita had cooled down a bit. She had got the window seat, so she sat down and closed her eyes. As she closed her eyes, she felt somebody sit down in the seat beside her. She didn’t have to open her eyes and see that it was Sujay, she smiled softly to herself.
Sujay never understood this reaction of Suprita. She didn’t care if he had a crush on somebody or made a girlfriend, but she got all fired up, if she felt she had to share his attention somehow. Even though both the actions were so similar to differentiate, Sujay was coming the understand the difference. It was ok if he felt some attraction towards another woman, but without his initial approach, if a girl got close to him, she felt that, that girl was encroaching her area. Which was a weird thing to explain to others. So he just went along with her. And moreover he always loved her company compared to anyone else. Suprita didn’t know that most of his crushes or relationships didn’t work out because when it came to choosing between Suprita’s friendship and the other woman’s love, Sujay always chose Suprita’s friendship.
The 13 and odd hours of journey was tiring but exciting to Suprita and by the time the captain announced that they had reached New York and in about half an hour they will reach J.F.Kennedy International Airport, She was sound asleep on his shoulder. Sujay very slowly took the tendril of hair which was stuck to her eyelashes and pushed it behind her ears and for the first time, he noticed, how angelic she looked when asleep, her eyelashes was softly resting on her cheeks, her skin was baby soft, her lips were slightly open and looked very tempting. He slowly grazed his knuckles against her cheek and called her name softly. And while her senses slowly awakened and she fluttered open her eyes, the process had made him catch his breath.
When Suprita opened her eyes, Sujay was just inches away from her. She gasped to find him so near and the spark in his eyes was something different. It was not the cool and calm eyes of her Jay, rather they were burning with fire.
When the captain announced that they will be touching down and switched on the seatbelt sign, both felt like somebody had jerked them away from a trance. They took a few minutes fumbling with seat belt and all the while trying to put as much time between them before they saw each other. When finally they couldn’t stall anymore, they looked up and smiled at each other, with as much confidence they could muster at that moment.
The eight day training program was designed not only that the team gain experience but also as a incentive to them. They had the training in the hotel conference room from 10.00 to 1.00 and later they could go on sightseeing or spend time how they want.
The awareness that Sujay felt on the plane was something very different, and no matter how much he wanted to forget it and bring back the usual comfort between them, he found himself admiring her more than usual. She started to look elegant in her official suits and she looked especially approachable in her jeans and T-shirt. For him she seemed like that incident was already out of her mind.
On the seventh night, they all went to a dance club. Suprita was looking fetching in her black dress which she had purchased on the first day outing in New York. And not for the first time in days he felt “I want her”. All through seven days had felt like torture for him, he had gone crazy with wanting her. The innocence of spending time with her was suddenly special. He couldn’t concentrate on the training or the fun. At all the times all he could remember were her sleeping eyes.
He tried to shake that feeling off of his system, but every time he looked at her, he could feel the pull between them.
Suprita was feeling especially beautiful that night, and it was reflecting in the eyes of Sujay. The way he looked made her feel special and gorgeous. She was feeling the same fluttering in the bottom of her stomach as she felt on the plane that day. She didn’t know why after all these years Sujay seemed more like a man rather than Jay. She could feel the pull of his eyes, and she felt that she just cant escape the fire in them.
When a stranger approached her and asked her for the dance, she was eager to move from that place and the tension creating between them. She readily accepted his invitation and took his hand to enter the dance floor. The music was good, but Suprita looked more beautiful than that.
But Sujay was not hearing the music, nor enjoying her dance. Of all the things for the first time in his life, he was wound up in anger, he was feeling helpless in his jealousy.
“Jealousy”, he thought in surprise. “Am feeling jealous, for her??” he said aloud for himself, yet he didn’t believe. Of all the women in the world and of all the feelings in the heart, he was feeling jealous because she was dancing with somebody else.
“Of course he felt jealous, he was feeling physically attracted towards her from last two days and today when she looked like a Greek goddess, it was natural to feel jealous, isn’t it? ” he questioned himself. But he was not sure he wanted to answer that.
He thought to himself “it was not some girl he met somewhere, it was Suprita, the untidy, tardy, annoying, jealous …..” the list would have continued if hadn’t looked up to see her smiling at him, then his list changed to “ and also loving, caring, smart and the most beautiful lady in this room and most of the rooms.”
He finished his drink and went out to take a break from the loud music, from the crushed bodies, from Suprita and from the unusual feelings between his usual relationship.
Suprita saw him go out and after few minutes and excuses to the person she was dancing with, she came out to see him standing there all alone in thought. He looked so handsome, so gallant. She cant forget the fire which shot up her spine when he looked with such smolder in his eyes. He was running his hands through his hair again and again, at one moment he seemed so unapproachable. She turned to return back inside when she heard him say “hi”
She turned towards him and smiled. She asked “Are you alright, you seem tense and worried”
He didn’t answer her but stood there just looking at her. Suprita suddenly felt like she was standing in the spot light. Like he is seeing her for the first time from across a room. Like there was a battle going on between him and something which was not there before.
But when he let out his long held breath, it seemed like he lost the battle. Suprita moved a step closer and asked in a soothing tone “Jay, are you really alright. You don’t look like yourself today. Is something wrong?”
Sujay closed the distance between them in a fraction of the second and was before her towering over her. He had a good height and she had to crane her neck to look at him. And she looked so petite, fragile and vulnerable to him.
“No” he thought to himself, I cant tell her what I feel, I just cant. He lifted his hand to just touch her cheek, but he couldn’t and when he tried to walk away. Suprita stopped him and said “Wait, please tell me”
Sujay turned towards her and said “I cant prita, I cant”
Suprita said again “You have to tell me what’s bothering you”
Sujay ran his fingers again through his hair in frustration and said “I don’t want to lose you, I cant tell you.”
When Suprita didn’t answer he couldn’t stop his words bursting out of him “I want you prita, I really really want you. I know I shouldn’t do this, I know its wrong. But I cant stop feeling that I want you so badly. From last few days I am feeling like somebody has run a hot knife through me. I want you so much. There I said it, now you can hate me.”
Suprita touched his cheek lovingly and said “Its ok to want me, but the question is do you need me?”
And she turned to walk away, when a big drunk group suddenly burst out of the club, Sujay immediately tried to pull her towards safety. But before he could act, one of the guys had pushed her in his semi conscious state and before she knew she was sitting in the middle of the road and huge bus had screeched to stop just inches from her.
Sujay didn’t understand for a minute as to what happened, but when he saw Suprita on the road, all his thoughts were blown out of his mind and only one thought remained in him. To keep her safe. He could see she was pretty shaken up, he ran towards her and picked her up and immediately brought her to the safety of the pavement. There he made her sit on the steps of a store and tried to see if she was hurt.
Suprita was pretty shaken up from the incident. She was in a trance and had no idea of what was happening around her. All she was feeling was that now she was safe because Jay was with her.
Sujay immediately hailed a cab and took her to the hospital. There in the ER when the doctor checked her thoroughly and informed that, she had sustained some scratches and other than that she was fine, he was still not in the state to believe that she was ok. All he wanted to do was keep her safe now. He took her back to the hotel, then went into her room. He helped her change, gave her medicine and till them she hadn’t spoken a word. His worry was escalating rather than decreasing. He didn’t want to leave her alone in the night and go, but he knew he couldn’t just stay. When he tucked her in and switched off the lights, he thought he heard her voice.
She was speaking so slowly that he had to bend down to hear her say “Can you please stay with me Jay, tonight?”
Rather than she asking a favour, he felt like she was granting him a favour. He nodded to her, removed his shoes and laid down on the blanket beside her and when she snuggled by him and fell asleep in minutes, for the first time after hours he breathed with relief.
His colleagues had no idea about any of these. When they didn’t see these two, as usual they thought that these both left together. And when the next day Suprita didn’t appear for the training session, Sujay calmly informed that she had got food poisoning last night. Everybody accepted the fact and didn’t question further. But nobody could see the turmoil going through Sujay at that time.
Last night’s incident had shaken the foundations of Sujay, and when he spent the whole night just holding her and still he felt a odd contentment for doing it, he got confused. For the first time in his life, he had felt helpless in a situation. The idea of losing her was still troubling him when he came to a realization that not only he wants her. He needs her immensely in his life.
At the same time Suprita was feeling no different. Last night when she felt she will die in a moment, all she could think was of Sujay. And the way he had cared and look after her made her feel more vulnerable and confused at the same time. She knew that they both felt a strong attraction from few days, but what she felt today was much more than that. She felt not only want towards him, she felt the need towards him. Somehow in a few moments he was escalated from irreplaceable friend to irreplaceable person in her life.
The organizer announced that as today was the last day, they had organized an official dinner party tonight.
Sujay listened to him half heartedly, but then a thought entered into his mind. And in a few minutes that stray thought had taken the shape of a full blown plan.
As soon as the training ended, he ran towards her room and took a deep breath before knocking. She opened the door. She was wearing her pajamas still and looked like she was sleeping and to Sujay she still looked breathtakingly beautiful. He was grinning foolishly when she asked “Hey, how was the training?”
He didn’t answer that question but he asked a question in return “They are holding an official go away party tonight, and I wish that you come there as my date. Will you?”
Suprita was caught off guard with the question and was not sure she could find her voice to answer. So she just nodded. Sujay gave a huge grin, kissed on her forehead and almost, almost skipped to his room. By the time Suprita closed the door, she was touching her forehead and smiling.
Sujay was wearing his black suit, complete with cufflinks. He had not worn tie and had kept his collar open. He knew she liked it like that. He was waiting impatiently in the hotel lobby for her. And when she walked out of the elevator, she looked like a vision out of the fairy tales.
She was wearing the yellow saree with silver border, paired it with sleeveless blouse. She had not worn any ornaments other than a delicate watch and yellow stone earrings. And she was looking absolutely ravishing.
Sujay could not take his eyes off of her and was gaping at her, while she walked towards him. She stood in front of him and smiled and he knew he could never recover from it.
He took her hand and escorted her into the party hall. It was very official and a very boring party. But he was not worried, because he knew he was not staying here for the whole party.
As soon the main addresses were over, Sujay silently took her by the elbow and guided her outside the hall. When she looked at him in question, he didn’t answer but just kept on going. He took her inside the elevator and pressed the terrace button.
Suprita was still filled with questions. When the elevator door opened and she saw beautiful table arranged in the middle of the terrace and candlelight everywhere. There was a lone violinist standing in a tuxedo and looking all official. She was still spell bound when he guided her towards the table and made her sit.
The dinner was excellent but the company excelled the dinner. The tension between them which had started building from the moment she stepped outside the elevator had reached a peak now, when he wiped his hands and asked her to dance. She never knew he could dance, but still she accepted when she thought “Tonight she will accept anything he gives”
The violinist started playing on the que. And they slow danced around the terrace. His hand on her waist was burning her, yet it was right, the way he held her close was breathtaking and yet it was like fresh air. She leaned on his shoulder and felt safe, it was the same feeling she always had when she hugged him, but yet different. She didn't want this moment to end and yet she was afraid as to where it would lead. She didn't want to leave him and yet afraid to stay. And when she thought that she can’t feel more special, he whispered in her ears “Not only do I want you so much that I can kill myself from the want, but I need you more than that”
Suprita stopped dancing and moved a step back to look at him clearly. When Sujay pulled her back into his arms and said “I want you, I need you. And there is no other thing I can say to convince you.. I don’t promise you something unattainable, but I promise you my love, my honesty and my friendship. My dearest friend, I ask you to give me a chance to convince you, Give me a chance to fulfill you, Give me a chance to love you.”
And all Suprita could do was smile fondly between her tears and hug him tightly with acceptance.