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Chapter 25 – Chapter 25
The following Monday Manik had gone to his office and to his surprise he found that person whom he didn’t want to meet and that was none other than Charlie who was waiting in his Cabin..
(Manik) “Really? After a good weekend, the first thing I see after I come to office is your face?”
(Charlie) “I had to check it myself, if it was really our Manik that I saw there. Seeing you now, it is true.”
(Manik) “Thank you for your confirmation. By the way I didn’t need your confirmation to prove that I am “THE MANIK MALHOTRA””
(Charlie) “Seeing you reaction, I take it that you didn’t see.”
(Manik) “See what?”
(Charlie) “The picture of you in the kitchen of your beloved”
(Manik) “Don’t tell me…….”
(Manik’s POV) I picked my phone instantly to check the mails and saw the horror. The picture of me clearing up the kitchen in the group site and the post of his saying, “The great
Manik is finally hooked! Man, none of them believed it until they saw the picture.” I lost my energy to get angry. It was already seen by our closest friends circle.
(Charlie) “What are you going to say, Monster?”
(Manik back to his thoughts) Two years younger than me, his silver blond hair set right, standing, looking smug, I could have punched him, if I could. I saw the comments. It seemed no one believed it and the photo proved it. Congratulations in messages, I was happy but at the same time, I didn’t like it. These bunch are younger than me and still teasing me,
(Manik) “Whatever! When have you guys actually listened to anything I say?”
(Charlie) “Come on. We all wish for your well being.”
(Manik) “I already said, I don’t care.”
(Charlie) “You are no fun at all. I came here all the way to tease you”
(Manik) “Oh, unfortunate you! In any case, it is not like you to turn up just like that. What do you want?”
(Charlie) “I am not going to interfere in your love life, but I wish that you get muddles cleared up soon, before both of you start backing off because you don’t know what the other is thinking.”
(Manik) “Is that from your observation of us?”
(Charlie) “I guess. I could tell you more, if you like.”
(Manik) “Nope. I am not interested.”
(Charlie) “Really? Even if the whole town calls you her husband?”
(Manik astonished and screamed) “What?? Husband?”
(Charlie) “She had to explain you coming there every week, doesn’t she? It is a small town. So dear husband don’t make a girl like her wait.”
(Manik) “I don’t want to hear it from you and I am so sorry to tell you that the girl belongs only to me and you are at loss.”
(Charlie) “And I am not sulking over it. Well, there is a meet coming up soon. Be there. Otherwise we will miss all the fun.”
(Manik) “Yeah. The fun of enjoying at my cost.”
(Charlie) “That is obvious. Well, see ya.” He went off. Did she really say that I was her husband? I just couldn’t believe it. I could ask her about it, but knowing her, I know that she will say that it is the most logical thing she could think of. She wouldn’t tell how she feels. Really, this is almost a torture. When can I be free of this struggle in my mind?
(Nandini’s POV) The whole week passed and it was time for me to see my Manik. Next weekend, Manik came over as usual. But I couldn’t do anything. I had to finish the research paper and give it when Jack comes over on Tuesday. I wanted to talk with him but I couldn’t.
(Nandini) “I am really sorry, Manik. I have to finish this work by tomorrow. Jack will be coming this week. I have to just hand over the papers.”
(Nandini’s POV) Hearing Jack’s name, he suddenly became grumpy. I wonder why. He sat by me doing his work, while I tried to concentrate on mine. I should have told him not to come. He is a distraction to me by himself. Somehow, I finally got it over by Saturday night. I saw him sleeping on the couch. He knows that he can sleep only on the couch here and yet, he keeps coming over and over again. I sat on the arm of the couch, looking at him. Handsome profile. He has definitely lost weight compared to when he nursed me back. Going back and forth, from city to here must be tiring and yet, he comes. I don’t know if he is persistent or just simply stupid. A man such as him, who showed so much pride, suddenly, behave so humble, it is shocking, more like unbelievable. I still love this man, and even more, when he is kinder, but I am not sure if I can trust him or his changed attitude. I really do want to trust him. Maybe, I could talk to him tomorrow.
(Nandini the next day morning) “Good morning.” I woke up Manik.
(Manik) “What are you doing up so early? You didn’t sleep?”
(Nandini) “I slept. I finished work by midnight and went to sleep. I think you are the one not getting enough sleep. Its ten in the morning.”
(Manik) “Seriously? Oh my God i slept that long.” He sat up all too suddenly.
(Nandini) “Hey, be careful, I am carrying your breakfast here.”
(Manik) “Why did you make it? You could have woken me up.”
(Nandini) “Stop treating me like a child when I am not. Have your food.” I sat opposite to him, having my coffee. He got up, refreshed himself and came back. He just ate one bit and stopped.
(Nandini seeing Manik’s expression) “What is it? Is it bad? I don’t think so, since I just ate it myself.”
(Manik happily said) “It’s just as perfect as you are.”
(Manik) “Nandini?” He started before I said anything.
(Manik) “Are you going to meet Jack?” Why this question all of a sudden?
(Nandini) “Yes, why are you asking?”
(Manik) “It’s nothing and he again asked Are you good friends with Jack?”
(Nandini) “I don’t know about good friends. We have known each other as schoolmates. A long time friend, not really a good friend. Why the sudden interest?”
(Manik) “Simply. Has it been long since you both met?”
(Nandini) “I guess so. The last time we met was last year of college.”
(Manik) “Do you have to meet with him?”
(Nandini) “What is your problem, Manik? Of course, I have to meet hi……..” (Nandini’s thoughts) Him? Jack is a girl. Wait, he thought Jack’s a guy. I could barely contain my laughter. So the Monster is jealous
(Nandini continued) “Manik, I just can’t believe you. Jack is not…….” (Again Nandini’s thoughts) Do I have to tell him that Jack is a girl? This is the first time he has shown any signs of jealousy.
(Manik questioningly) “What can’t you believe?” He roared back at me. I am honestly surprised.
(Nandini) “Are you jealous, by any chance?” I asked him slowly, waiting for him to bark back a no.
(Manik) “Is there something wrong with that?”.
(Nandini) “You are not the Manik I know.”
(Manik) “Really, try something else. This is not “The Me” I know.”
(Nandini) “But how, I mean, how did you change?”
(Manik) “Is that what is important here?” He snapped back. I instantly flinched. “Sigh. For me, pride and doubt stood against everything. Even if I was in love, I would never accept it. We, brothers, were always taught about love by our Mom. I thought it was all humbug. One could never be like how she says in life. Almost that we never believed her. Manik was proved wrong first. And I realised the meaning of her words very late. Even now, if you ask Dhruv, he would laugh about it. To Harshad and Dhruv, I am a source of their entertainment now. But, I decided to take her words to my heart. You would think how this man has changed so much; I didn’t change, I decided to be true to what I feel and what I want to do. And right now, winning back your love for me is the most important.” Nandini could feel sincerity in his voice.
(Nandini said) “You and Navya are so similar.”
(Manik) “Really? I would have never thought that. She is not heartless like I am.”
(Nandini) “There isn’t much difference to the Navya I saw for the first time and you. She smiled, she was kind, but if one actually noticed it, she was forcing herself to be so; so as to not be called unfeeling. She wouldn’t get involved with anyone unless it necessitated her. She was more closed off, like you are, or at least were. She has changed a lot since she met Cabir. Now, she doesn’t force herself. She has opened up. It would not be wrong if someone did call you both as siblings.” Both of them are almost mirror copies in their attitude, only difference she used to hide it and he didn’t.
(Manik in sad and happy tone) “I am always happy to hear anything about her. She is indeed precious to me.”
(Nandini) “Manik, were you able to talk to her or for that matter even Cabir?”
(Manik) “If only I could. She blocked my number and mail. Now, that she is on leave, she refuses to leave her room if I go there. Its tough being like this when she is a part of life. And what do I say about Cabir. He looks at me with cold site. Even in business meetings he doesn’t talk to me. It’s right I deserve this punishment for the cruel thing that I had done to you. Anyways, Lets stop talking about stupid stuff. So, shall we go out for lunch as a celebration for finishing your work?”
(Nandini’s POV) He smiled back at me. He really wants to see Cavya, was all I could think of the whole day. I should do something to bring them back together.
The same day as usual Manik had left and I was once again alone in the house.
Precap : Lets see i am not sure but definitely something nice would happen