Hello all you lovely people! Thank you so much for continuing to shower your endless love on My Lifeline! I have to admit that I had initially been worried, but all of your responses have been so reassuring, it’s overwhelming! Happy reading!!
Twinj: My Lifeline: Bonus Chapter 2
“Twinkle!” Kunj called out at his cheerful best as he burst into their room, making her jump up due to the sudden intrusion into the pin-drop silence. “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star!” He sang when he spotted her doing some dusting in his award shelf. She turned and gave him a weird glance, eyeing him up and down, the skeptic look not faltering a single bit. Not even when she had sighted his signature grin. “What?” He demanded, looking down at his own clothes to figure out what was making her react like that. “That’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard you say!” She pointed out; all her attention still devoted to the particularly shiny trophy in her hand.
Kunj stared at her for a whole minute in silence, and if Twinkle hadn’t known him well enough, she would have assumed that he had given up and probably left in silence. “No, it isn’t!” She heard him protest, and her mind prompted, ‘There it is!’ making her giggle softly. “Come on, it’s like a little poem written just for you!” He whined, plopping down on the bed carelessly. “Kunj! I had just set everything right in here! Would you stop being a baby?” She ridiculed, pouting irritably as she proceeded to try and drag him off the bed. “But it’s your song!” He protested, unwillingly sitting up and edging closer to her. “Kunj, if you’re so desperate for me to have a song, you could make me one! Do you realize that? You don’t need to sing that one nursey rhyme that every single person I’ve ever known has teased me with!” She complained, squeaking when he expertly toppled both of them on the bed in one smooth move.
Twinkle had begun protesting as soon as she had been able to jerk herself back into the real world from the ocean of his eyes, but it appeared like Kunj had anticipated this already. He rolled them over, trapping her effectively. “Kunj! So unfair!” She meant to sound authoritative, but only came out as a soft whisper. “Shhh! You complain too much!” He whispered back, letting go of one of her hands to tuck a couple of loose strands of her hair behind her ear. She was looking up at him, and he recognized the look too well – she was thinking of a comeback for that. “Except about one thing.” She said, the glint of victory already evident in her eyes.
“Really? What would that be?” He asked, genuinely curious. “I never complain about my … stuff.” She answered, trailing off midway to find a suitable word. “Your stuff?” He questioned, confusion lacing his tone. It almost made her laugh. She nodded quietly, her eyes never leaving his. “What stuff?” He asked hastily, and she could literally hear the jealousy. “My stuff – my husband, my friends, my family, my work, my husband’s music, all that, you know?” She said slowly, watching his eyes widen as his mind processed her words. “You little minx!” He chided fondly, beginning to tickle her, chuckling as she threw her head back and laughed her heart out.
It was only later, when the chaos had settled and they lay in their bed in the absolute peace that Kunj had disrupted when he had walked in, that his mind replayed their conversation, like it always did. As if it was a way of life. “Twinkle, did you say ‘baby’?” He asked, sitting upright suddenly. She looked at him lazily, shaking her head in response. “No!” She said to reiterate her point, unsure of what he was saying.
“You did!” He claimed, watching carefully as she sighed and sat up, having realized that he wasn’t going to drop the issue so easily. “What is it, Kunj?” She asked, her hand reaching out to his hair that was now a mess, in an attempt to ruffle it, spoiling it some more, and then leaning back to admire her work. “Twinkle, did you call me ‘baby’?” He asked seriously. She blinked at him blankly, her mind racing as she tried to recall. “No, I didn’t” It came off as more of a question than a sure response. “I heard you!” He sounded super confident though. “Did I?” She asked, gulping hard. Never before had she used a nickname for Kunj – at least not since they had got to know each other. Well, before that, even if she had used one of those cringy titles for him, it wasn’t really to him or in front of him – only his pictures – so it had probably not mattered that much.
Kunj shook his head in an ‘I can’t believe this!’ fashion, and slipped off the bed. He then turned to her and stood facing her with his arms crossed in front of him. “You called me baby when you were annoyed about me jumping onto the bed!” He pointed out, and followed by a minute of Kunj awaiting her response and she struggling to hold back her laugh, she finally told him, “I said that you had to stop being ‘a baby’, that wasn’t a term of endearment!” Kunj’s face fell at that, making him look so adorable that she couldn’t stop herself from leaning forward and pulling his cheek.
“Nobody loves me!” She heard Kunj mumble as he stepped away, brushing off her hand. She stood up quickly, trying to get to him to convince him, but he held his hand out, putting on his best puppy face at the same time. Just as she was about to say something though, a gush of wind blew into the room, drawing his attention to the softly tingling windchime. “Only he does!” He said, pointing at the windchime and casting her a glance before heading to the window. “That is a ‘he’ now?” She asked, sneaking up on him. “Yes, and he loves me. He didn’t leave me even when you did!” Kunj replied, and appeared offended when she chortled.
If Kunj had thought that Twinkle would stick around him for the rest of the evening and make incessant attempts at lightening his mood, he was so wrong. For, when he turned back, he couldn’t find her. “Twinkle?” He called out, and heard her voice from somewhere close, “Don’t you worry, Kunj! The windchime will keep you company and console you!” He groaned audibly, earning a laugh from her. “Alright, I give up. You win!” He conceded, and she appeared in front of him immediately, almost like a miracle. Except that she had probably left to change into her nightwear, and had walked out of the closet right then.
“Whoa. That’s new!” He wolf-whistled at her, admiring her new night gown. She nodded, twirling around to give him a good luck. “And it’s in my favorite color!” He exclaimed excitedly. She grinned, knowing too well that she didn’t have to tell him why she had chosen the color. “So soft!” He cooed, running a finger up her fully sleeved hand. She hit her hand when it got to her shoulder and teased, “I know it’s a great piece of clothing, Kunj! But you should just go back to the windchime and continue your declarations of love for it. I’m sure it – he – will appreciate it!” He pretended to sob at that, and when Twinkle got close enough to him, he grabbed her and pulled her close, smirking at her suspecting expression.
Twinkle raised herself on her toes to peck his forehead when they heard the windchime again. “And your lover is jealous.” She stated, narrowing her eyes at him. “I’m sure he’ll understand, because even when you weren’t here, all he did was remind me of you! Remind me of how stupid I was to have let you go, of how dumb I had to be that I let Alisha into the house and then she was getting on my nerves, disappointing me some more, since I knew, that had you been here, you would know the solution to that too. Like you do every problem I’ve ever had and ever will!” She adored him at moments like these, when it was just them, their memories, their conversations that neither of them seemed to get enough of, ever.
Kunj sniffled a little at the reminder, and hugged her tight, the fear he felt back then had subsided, but he hadn’t been able to forget what it had felt like. She snaked her arms around him, having mastered the skill of calming him down. But that didn’t mean she had gotten over it all completely either. While Kunj had suffered mentally and emotionally over and over again, her own losses had been physical too. Some wounds that Alisha had inflicted on her arms hadn’t healed for a long time, and even after they had, they left behind scars of all sorts. While Kunj had always assured and reassured her that they didn’t change anything about her, that they were signs of how strong she had always been, she knew that he had himself felt extremely guilty about it. They hadn’t even been able to open up in complete honesty about that incident until very recently. And they knew that would heal eventually, together. They would only need some more time. Or perhaps, a little more than that. But they would make it.
Kunj hummed softly their favorite song sometime later – it was now a close battle between which song held that post anymore, for the song that was truly theirs in all terms seemed to be a strong contestant too. Perhaps they would just swing to and fro between the two. That night seemed to be the night of the former. And just like it had been custom for such nights, they were soon dancing slowly, twirling slowly initially and then expanding their routine to include elaborate moves too. Neither of them was really trained in ballroom dancing, and that meant there was always an incident that would them end up laughing in each other’s arms. Their own personal therapy session – it usually managed to cheer them up, or just relieve them of their weariness.
As Twinkle freed herself from his arms and headed to turn out the lights a long time later, he grabbed her wrist and pulled her back. “I forgot to tell you something really important!” She heard him whisper from not more than a foot behind. “And what would that be?” She asked softly, stepping towards him nevertheless, crashing into him a little harder than she had intended to. “That you’re really, really beautiful!” His chin now rested on her shoulder and he could see the color rising to her cheeks. He snatched the hair tie from her hand and pulled her hair up in a bun just like he had learnt from Chinki, and Twinkle gave him an appreciative peck on the cheek.
“Let me go now, for a moment, will you?” She asked, but he shook his head firmly. “There still is something important!” He said, placing gentle kisses on her eyes that she had fluttered shut the moment he had closed the distance between them completely. “What is that, now?” She asked, only to end up nuzzling her nose in the crook of his shoulder when he said it loud and clear, “I love you.”
That’s it for this chapter, guys! I hope you all enjoyed it. I believe that Twinkle and Kunj had gone through so much that they couldn’t just jump back to normalcy like it was nothing. They deserved to have some time to heal, to deal with their insecurities and fears, and that was what this was about. Until next time, much love!!