“Remember that night when we went out for the first time?” I asked her as she held my hand. “Of course I do, you called me mom in your sleep.” She grinned as it slowly came back to me.
We raised our glasses in the air as the bartender brought us a new tray of sparkling shot glasses. I sipped my cocktail silently. I kept reminding myself that I had to reach home without getting a single scratch on the car.
I turned around to order some more starters and in the process caught a glimpse of a pretty girl sipping the same cocktail as I. “No harm in trying!” One of my friends said. Others coxed me and soon I was on my way to her table as she fiddled with her phone. “Excuse me!” I was about to introduce myself when she stopped me and said, “Not gonna happen!” I was startled and was pretty sure that my face had turned red out of embarrassment. “Sorry for disturbing you…!” I murmured and turned around when she said,” I am sorry about that, I am not in a good mood right now.” Her pink nail polish complimented her lips or maybe vice-versa but she was gorgeous. I smiled and left.
My friends patted my shoulder as I finished my cocktail and ordered a large peg of whiskey. The car could go to hell for all I cared.
As we paid our bills, ready to leave, I saw her walking upto me with a godly smile. “Hey, I guess we started on the wrong foot. I am Priya. Priya Mukherjee!” I could see her table, populated with slender cocktail glasses, over her shoulder. “Aniruddh Sen.” I extended my hand towards her which she gladly accepted.
“Wanna get out of here? Let’s go someplace fun.” She winked at me. I felt confused and excited at the same time. We silently left the place and my friends waved at us.
“So what do you do?” I asked the strange but beautiful lady beside me. “I quit my job today.” She turned towards me with an expressionless face. “Oh, I am sorr…” I felt weird as she stopped me before I could complete my sentence. “And you?” She had pretty earrings. I pointed at a building. “Okay!” She turned on the radio and hummed along with the song. We stopped near a night club.
We entered the dark place with deafening music as people danced in euphoria all around us. To blend in, she ordered tequila shots for both of us. She finished her shots before me as I quietly handed out shots to people around me taking advantage of the darkness. People cheered. Someone in a black tshirt with phosphorescent “Om” printed on it blessed me. I made my way through the crowd and finally found Priya dancing like a pro. The tequila must have unleashed the dancer inside her I thought. Before I could do anything, she pulled me towards her and then the lights went out. And then Bam! The Dj dropped the beat, literally. Peopled cheered as if God had shown up before them in all his glory. Priya and I danced amidst a crowd of zombies but it felt different. Liberating, my brain fetched a word, which meant that I was still sober. Even in that darkness, I could see her scintillating brown eyes fixed on mine. Her lips quivered as I held her and she smiled seductively.
Half an hour later, drained of all our energy, we decided to leave the club. She gave the finger to a tall building as we drove into the night. I laughed as she leaned out of the window, the wind caressing her face.
“You okay?” I asked her as tears rolled down her face. She wiped her face like a child and said, “Yes!”
My instinct was sharp as ever. “Tell me everything.” She looked at me and then at the road as we drove towards her home. “He was a jerk and we broke two months ago. I should have never said yes to him.” She took her phone out and threw it out of the window. And then she broke into laughter.
“Oh my God! As I slammed the brakes as she kept laughing. “Don’t stop, he gave it to me, and I don’t want it anymore. We drove on but I rolled up all the glasses.
“Tell me a story” She looked at me with a grin. I changed the gear and looked at her. “Why don’t you tell me a story?” She was playing with her earring. “I will, but you tell me one first!” She said in a fake angry voice. She tugged my sleeve and looked at me with pouted lips. “Alright! But give me a second. And don’t do that or I will drive us off the flyover.” I slowed down. “If you don’t start now, I will do more than that.” I could sense hostility in her child-like voice. “Once there was a …” She asked me to stop with her hand. “I … don’t… feel… very… well…” Her face now had a maroon hue. I stopped the car and she dashed out of the car and garnished a bush with puke. I rushed towards her with a bottle of water. “Arghhhh…” She grunted like a pirate and wiped her face with her sleeve. She came near me with pointed a finger at her open mouth. I poured some water and she gurgled and spat on the unfortunate bush. Then she wrapped herself around me and started crying again. “I f’ked up. I f’ked up bad!” She kept crying as her tears left tiny marks on my shirt. “It’s going to be okay! Trust me.” I was at loss of words. My brain was giving up as well.
We reached her place after sometime. She didn’t speak during that entire duration. She looked out of the window as Luke Bryan soothed us. Her apartment was on the second floor and she swayed like a leaf as she walked. “Tuck me into bed before you leave.” I held her as we walked. She dropped her keys on the floor and kept staring at it before I retrieved it for her and opened the door. As expected, her place was neat and clean, unlike my bachelor pad. She crawled into her bed throwing her sandals in different direction as I put a blanket on her. “Please don’t leave me.” She held my hand as she placed her soft face on it. “Please don’t go!” I smiled as she slowly slipped into slumber. I pushed away a wild lock of hair off her face and settled on the floor beside her bed. I didn’t have the heart to leave her, so I leaned on the wall and kept looking at her as she mumbled random words in her sleep. I lost count of the times I pulled her cheek, poked her nose and stopped myself from kissing her before I felt asleep.
I woke and found a pair of brown eyes staring at me. My phone was vibrating and suddenly I felt a kick in my groin as I remembered I had an assignment to submit before noon. “You called me mom in your sleep!” She smiled as she put a brush into her mouth. “You should have woken me earlier. I have to leave!” I got up and prepared to leave. “Have something to eat first. You must be hungry.” She wiped her face with a pink towel and her face shone like sun. “Later. Bye for now!” I opened the door. She pushed the door back at its resting placed and slid between me and the door. Her face was inches away from mine and her breath was minty. “Kiss me!” She said as I smiled declining her offer. “Let’s meet up later, shall we?” I inched away from her but she seemed adamant. “One kiss and you can go!” She put her hands around me and closed her eyes. I kissed her on the forehead and opened the door. She wasn’t amused but she let me go. I drove to my office. I had two hours to finish what I had promised I will.
I checked my watch as I sent the mail and locked my system. I rose from my chair to go to the washroom when we my desk phone rang up. “Hello, Mr. Sen, there is someone in the reception area asking for you. Family urgency!” The phone slipped from my hands. The image of mom and dad flashed before my eyes. My friends and I rushed to the reception area on the ground floor.
Instead of any relatives, I find Priya going through a company magazine sipping complimentary coffee.
“What are you doing here?” I felt relieved and angry at the same time. “You have something that belongs to me.” She kept the magazine as we walked outside the building. My friends stopped near a cigarette stall. “I didn’t take anything from you.” I looked into her eyes. “Yes, you have Mr.Sen!” She pulled my collar and whispered, “My heart!” And then she kissed me. My friends clapped and cheered. A few senior employees frowned as they passed by us. “There goes my appraisal!” I though as I held her by her waist, kissing her passionately. I had more fun with her than three years of my sickening corporate life and for once, I stopped caring completely about how life would turn out to be.
“Let’s stick with the story that we met in a restaurant, okay?” I asked her as we smiled at some people standing near us. “Yeah, you do that but I am not going to lie to our children.” I smiled as we folded our hands as a few more people approached us with big gift boxes. We smiled at the photographer along with some people as she slapped my hand away as I tried to pinch her through her beautiful dress. She looked at me with threatening eyes and then gently placed my hand on her waist. We smiled in unison as people looked at us adoringly.
With clicks and flashes, our lives got strung together, one year after that very night.
Dedicated to a friend who is getting married soon… !!! 😀