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Salman Shaik

Drama Romance Fantasy


3  

Salman Shaik

Drama Romance Fantasy


A Successful Rebound

A Successful Rebound

104 mins 512 104 mins 512

Intro


T-minus 5 4 3 2 1 0 & liftoff.

We started our journey to the planet Verdure, the biggest human-crewed mission ever, to colonize another habitable planet.


It took us 10 hrs to reach the lunar space station & we moved into a spaceship to continue our further journey, We set our trajectory to Verdure before going into our hibernation pods.


Ananya was preparing to get into the pod; I just walked past her pretending that I was checking the status of all the pods.

“What are you doing here, Carl?” asked Ananya.

I replied: “I'm performing a check.”

“Why do you look worried?”

“No, I'm not.”

”Don't forget that your eyes speak too.”

"I'm worried about you, that's it.“

“Why? I'm here with you.”

"That's fine, but what if it doesn't work.”

“Yeah, It's my mistake. I shouldn't have married a kid like you.“

”If it weren't me, you would still be a single, boring & a virgin lady?”

"You are right, kid."

"Don't call me that."

"Why not, kid?"


"Anyways, I'm a bit scared.”

“Why?"

“Have you seen the crew, it's just one man for five women. What if you all turn up against me.”

“In your dreams.”

“If you remember, this was one of my dreams too.”

“Anyways, It's time & you should go to sleep.”

“Yeah, take care, Sweetheart.”

“You too, sweety.”

"I hate you."

"I hate you too, but don't forget to give me a goodbye kiss."

Precisely 365 years later:

        I was sitting at a café, waiting for someone. It was a beautiful evening & after some time, Ananya joined me. We started talking over the coffee. Everything went fine until the waitperson arrived with the cheque when I was handing over the case. I looked at her face & it was Megan.

I asked her: “Megan, what are you doing here? Why are you working here? “

“I'm a waitress here," replied Megan.

"But why here?"

"This is the only thing which feeds me now & I have no one to help me out."

“What ... What happened?"


“You promised me that you'll be there for me always. You said you wouldn't let anything happen to me? But you didn't even care carl.”

“I'm sorry, Megan. I know that I made a mistake; forgive me.”

”It's okay, Carl.”

“Come on, ditch this job & come with me.”

“No, Carl. I don't trust you anymore.”

“Come on now. I said I'm sorry. Please forgive me.”

“You broke my heart, Carl.”

”I'm sorry."

She said: “No, Carl. Please let me live my life.” & ran away.

I shouted: "Megan, listen to me. Don't go."

I woke up & saw myself in the hibernation pod; I was suffocating in liquids filled in the pod. The only option for me to survive is to come out of the pod. Once I went out of the pod, I looked at the projection & E.T.A was after ten years & I took a nice bath & started exploring the whole ship. When I reached the lounge, I saw a person already resting there. For being safe, I took my pistol out & walked to the person & pointed it to the head. 

After seeing her, I realized that she was from my crew.

I started the conversation by saying: "Hi, this is your Captain Carl. What are you doing out here?"

"My pod broke down, so I had to come out of it," said Margaret.

"Same happened with my pod too, isn't there any way to fix them."

"We can but not here."

"Anyway, It's good for me."

"How can it be good when ten years of your life are getting wasted?"

"Not for me."

"Can I know why?"

"By the time we reach our destination, I'll be as old as my wife."

"How?"

"Since I'm out of the pod, I'll age, but it's not the same case with her 'cause she is in the pod."

"Wait… is your wife ten years older than you?"

"Yeah."

"Interesting, I love hearing things like this."

"Seriously?"

"Yeah, at least we can spend these ten years by just sharing stories."

"I can, but I don't know whether you'll like it or not. Anyways, I'll start if you're ready to listen."

"I'm ready."

"So, let's start."

"Hmm……. how to start? Yeah, so all this started ten years ago."

"Ten years back? A long story, I guess."

"Yeah, It's a long story. Those were my graduation days; My wife was one of my lecturers at my college."

"Lecturer?"

"Yeah, you heard it right."

"Interesting, carry on."


Chapter 1

M.I.T







For Megan -Thank you for your love & sorry for my love.


That was my first day at college; I was just wandering around the campus. 

All of a sudden, I started getting hiccups. It was so bad that I wasn't able to breathe. I ran towards the canteen to grab something to drink. It rained a few hours back, so the floor was slippery as a result I slipped & was about to fall, but someone grabbed my shirt from behind, it was Megan, my best friend.


She was my best friend from my childhood. We are so close that people around us thought we were dating each other. Anyhow, my hiccups stopped. 

"What are you doing here?" asked Megan.

I replied: "Nothing."

"Can we go home?"

"Sure."

We walked till the parking lot & when I was taking my car out of the lot, I saw her walking across the path.

Ms. Ananya Hathaway, one of our lecturers in the university & one of the most beautiful women I think I have ever seen, the orange light from the sunset was making her look even more attractive.


She looked a bit tense; I felt like I should help her. 

Initially, I thought of ignoring her because it would be awkward if I start talking to her randomly. I got my car out the parking lot & was about to leave the campus then I looked through my side-view mirror. She was there helpless & looked like she was waiting for someone. Anyways, I changed the gear to the rear & drove my car back to the place where she was standing.


I said, "Hi."

"Hi, what's up?" replied Ms. Hathaway.

"Nothing, I just wanted to check whether everything is fine."

"Yeah, everything's fine except my car ditched me."

"Oh, can I help you with a ride?"

"Oh, thanks. But I'm waiting for my friend, who said he'd be here in 10 mins an hour ago."

"Oh, I think you should come with us."

"That's so nice of you, thanks. But I'll wait."

"You can trust me, or you can trust that girl who's in my car. Megan"

"It's not that I don't trust you, I live far from here."

"Certainly not far from where I live, where is it??"


"Providence."

"Cool, that's where I live too."

"You must be kidding?"

"Naah, I am from Providence."

"Oh, it's nice."

"Where in Providence?"

"Federal Hill & You're from?"

"Downtown & Megan is from Valley."

"Cool"

"How much more time will it take, Carl?" shouted Megan.

I replied, "I'm just waiting for this lady to join us."

"I'll come," said Ms. Hathaway.

"Thank you. Let's go."

During the first few minutes of the ride, everyone was silent. Megan was using Instagram on her phone, Ms. Hathaway was gazing out & I was driving.

To break the silence, I switched on the music player.

I said: "Why are you so silent?"

"Nothing, I have a question."

"Shoot it."

"Are you both a couple?"

I replied: "No, but why would you ask?".

"Nothing"

"Oh, I got it. Now there are two things which you should know."

"Okay"


"First, Megan is my friend. Now the second one, don't listen to people."

"I'm sorry."

"No Problem."

"So, from how long you both are friends?"

"From our childhood, I guess."

"Cool. How is your college life?"

"It's my first day; I can't say anything now."

"So, you're in which branch?"

"I'm doing my Majors in AeroSpace & Megan is from A&D."

"Oh, nice. Do you know that I'll be taking your lectures?"

"I know."

"I'm sorry, it's been a while since we started talking, but we didn't introduce each other."


"I know your name, though."

"And Yours?"

"I'm Carl Masters"

"And this is Ananya Hathaway."

"I'm Megan Black," said Megan from the backside of the car.

"I know, this guy speaks a lot about you," said Ms. Hathaway.

"Yeah, he's crazy about me," replied Megan.

I said: "We almost reached."

"Oh, Is it. Is it Valley, which comes first?" said Ms. Hathaway.

"Yes, & Megan, here comes your stop."

"Bye, goodnight," says Megan & runs into her house.

"Where are we exactly?" asked Ms. Hathaway.


I replied: "Kinsley Ave."

"Oh, drop me at Harris Ave. From there, I'll walk."

"Why?"

"Or else it will be late for you."

"No big deal, by the way, where do you live?"

"Cahir St & you?"

"Greene St. & it's not too far."

"Okay, if you say so."


After some time, we reached her place. She got out of the car, leaned into the car window & said: "Thank you for the ride."

"You're Welcome, Ms. Hathaway."

"You can call me Ananya."

"But you're my lecturer."

"Yes, at the University. Once I'm out of MIT, I'm just Ananya. "


"Okay, Ms. Hath..."

"Again"

"Sorry, I need time to get used to it."

"That's fine. Good Night", said Ananya & went into her house.


That was the worst night I ever had. I hardly got any sleep. I tried sleeping in all positions, but it didn't help. All I can think of is Ananya. I just need to close my eyes & boom; all I can see is her.


That lady, that lady with that smile, that damn beautiful smile caught me. I felt like I had feelings for her. 

I knew it's wrong, less. I called Megan to seek her help. 

I said: "Hey, Meg."

"Hello, why are you calling me this late?"

"I want your help."

"Help? For what?"

"I don't know whether this is right or not"

"What's right or not."

"I don't know how to say this."

"If you don't tell me what you're talking about, I'm gonna drive to your place & kill you."

"I have feelings for her."

"Her? Who? the girl who kissed you on Sunday?"

"Naah, she is a freak. Anyways I mean Ananya."

"Which Ananya? The one whom we met today?"

I nodded my head.

"Idiot, how will I know if you nodded your head there."

"How do you know that I was nodding?"


"Dude, don't forget, I know you."

"Nice, Thank you."

"What was the answer? Yes or No?"

"Yes."

"Dude, do you even know what you are talking about? Listen to yourself."

"Yup."

"Don't worry about it too much. It's just a temporary attraction. It will fade away."

"If not?"

"Can we discuss this tomorrow? I wanna sleep."

"Okay, bye. Goodnight, Meg."

"Night"

After Talking to Megan, I decided to ignore Ananya & sleep. I played some white noise on my headphones & took a nap, hoping to have a good night's sleep.


When I woke up, I was in my car, sitting in the driver's seat, waiting near Megan's house. I was wearing the same clothes that I was wearing yesterday. I checked my phone, and it showed yesterday's date. 

After some time, Megan joined me in the car. I was puzzled. I looked at Megan to figure out whether I'm dreaming or is it for real.

"Why are you staring at me? Let's go. I don't want us to be late on the first day of college," said Megan.

I asked: "Are you serious?"

"Yes, I am."

"Okay, Let's go."


It felt like I had a dream or something, but if it is a dream, how can I dream about a person whom I have never seen? It felt something like déjà vu. I thought I would ignore it because I didn't want to ruin my entire day thinking about this.


Everything was happening exactly how it happened the other day. We had this Introductory session, later when I came out to take a look at the campus. I suddenly started getting hiccups. I thought that if I don't go to the canteen things will change. It won't be the same anymore, but which means I won't meet Ms.Hathaway. So I decided to run towards the canteen like I did the other day as expected I slipped, Megan helped. We reached the parking lot, she was there, waiting for her friend.

I wanted to spend this evening with her. So I talked her into coming with us.



Everything went the same. In the meantime, I thought that I did something which invoked the day to reset. The thing which I did before sleeping was talking with Meg, so I decided to skip that part this time. Since I had a lovely day, this time there was no trouble sleeping. But still, I respect Meg's words & decided to ignore all the feelings.

The following day, I woke up, got dressed, had breakfast & left for MIT. Though things look normal, I had this strange feeling that the day got reset.


I picked up Meg from her home. This time she didn't say anything like she did last time. So which means the day hasn't reset this time. At least that was my assumption, but when Ananya took today's session, I realized it's a brand new day.



After Few Months:

We were heading back home, in the midway Meg wanted to take a leak, so I stopped near a gas station. After a while, Megan came running to me & said there were guys near the bathroom & harassed her. Well, that was enough for me to kick their asses, I slapped a guy so hard that he banged his head to the fire hydrant, believe me, it hit him so hard. Hearing him screaming gave me chills. Still, why should I stop, it was Meg with whom they did it. I was beating the hell out of the other guys & Ananya appeared, she shouted: "Carl. What the hell are you doing?"

I shouted back: "You better, don't get involved in this." 


Well, that's all I had to say, she backed off. A few minutes later. The cops arrived, they all took me in with all those jerks, but when Meg told them the truth, they let me out but with a warning.

I saw Ananya standing far from us, observing everything. 

I thought I should apologize & I called her instead of talking to her in person because it works better that way.

I said: "I'm sorry."

"That's fine," replied Ananya.

"I have issues with my anger."

"But don't be too aggressive."

"Well, that's what she said."

"Again, what?"

I quickly said: "Oops, sorry."


"It's okay, dude," replied Ananya.

"Don't judge me."

"I won't, but I want to know why?"

"They were teasing Meg."

"But, you shouldn't beat them like that for teasing a girl."

"Well, they didn't stop at teasing."

"Then?"

"They harassed her."

"Oh, I'm sorry."

"You don't need to be sorry, and you might get late. We are just halfway through."

"Yeah, but I forgot to ask you, how is she?"

"She is fine."

"Okay, then. See you'"


"Let this be the last bye."

"Sure," said Ananya & hung up the call.

The very next day in college, a girl comes to me 

& asks: "Hey, how are you?"

I asked her, "Sorry, do I know you?"

"No."

"Do you know me?"

"Yeah."

"How?"

"I saw you around the campus."

"How can I help you?"

"I was passing by & saw you, so I thought I should say Hi."

"Cool."

"Cool."

I said: "Cool" again with a question mark face. 


If a person says cool twice in conversation simultaneously, which means that the person wants to end the conversation.

"Okay, see ya."

I said: "See you," & she went away.

"Oh, god. Olivia was hitting on you," said Megan.

I replied: "Naah, I don't think so."

"Didn't you feel it, she was all weird?"

"Was she hitting on me?"

"I knew that you would ask?"

"Come on, tell me. Was she?"

"Yeah, She was, you dumbass," replied Megan.



Later that day, I got a message from an unknown number.

I thought it's just the wrong number & Ignored it.

 After an hour or so, I got another message, the curious me thought of finding out who it is, so I asked: "Who is this?"

"I'm Olivia."

"Sorry, It doesn't ring a bell."

"We met in college today."

"Oh, yeah. So your name is Olivia."

"Yeah, but you can call me Olive."

"Nice name."

"Thank You."

"Can I ask you something?"

"Yeah"


"Were you hitting on me today?"

"Yeah,......... kind of."

"Why?"

"Because I like you."

"What?"

"Yes, I liked the way you kicked their asses yesterday."

"Oh, you saw that too, uh?"

"Yeah."

"Cool."

"You shouldn't be too aggressive."

"That's what she said."

"Haha"

Luckily, this time it worked out.


I said, "I gotta sleep, good night."

"Goodnight, Carl."

"Goodnight, Olive."


From that day, we both started to hang out & people thought that we were dating each other, but I ignored it because you know it happens all the time. Anyways, so after two months, Olive says that she loves me. At first, It felt weird, but Instead of telling a straight off no, I asked her to give me some time to think about it.

From there, I went to Megan's place, told her everything, & asked her to help me.


"Do you like her?" asked Megan.

I replied: "Yeah, but that is not the same way she does."

"Do you feel special when she's with you?"

"I don't know, mostly not."

"How is she with you?"

"She treats me well, and she takes a lot of care."

"Well, isn't she beautiful?"

"Yes, she is."

"Didn't you kiss her?"

"Yes, I did."

"Then what's your fucking problem, say yes to her."

"I don't know. It doesn't feel right."

"Shut the fuck up & say yes to her."

"But it's damn hard for me to think of her in that way."


"Oh, now I get it."

"What?"

"I know why you are not interested in Olive."

"Why?"

"Because you are attracted to Ms. Hathaway. Isn't it?"

"No, no way."

I said to myself: "How does she know? Wasn't it déjà vu?"

I asked Megan: "Why do you think I would like her?"

"Because I have seen your eyes when she is around. They have a strange glow to them."

"Whatever, what is this eyes & glow? Grow up meg."

"Okay, I might be looking at it the wrong way, but something tells me that you like Ms. Hathaway."



Talking with Megan made my work harder rather than solving my problem. I highly doubt that Megan remembers everything about that call, but how can she? I was still doubtful about the whole déjà vu thingy, but who knows what happened.

Whatever it was, it felt real. To get over it, I simply concluded that it was just a bad dream.


The next day in college, before the classes began, Ananya came to me and asked me to meet her during lunch hour.

During lunch, She said that we both would be going out for lunch,

At first, it felt a bit weird, but later I felt happy. That's my crush who asked me out for lunch.


We went to a nearby place. It was too posh for a restaurant, and everything was well decorated, glossy & clean. The plates & glasses & spoons had the logo of the restaurant embossed with silver & gold. I don't know why Ananya would like to give a treat in such an expensive restaurant.

I asked: "Why are you giving me a treat in this expensive restaurant?"

"I have coupons for two & they are going to expire in a few days, so I thought, why shouldn't we eat out today,'' replied Ananya.

"Cool."


"You didn't ask me, but I will tell you why only you? Not anyone else? Because you are the only person On this whole campus whom I know more, better."

"Nice, thanks."

"Yes & thanks for coming."

"As far as I'm getting free food, I'm in."

"So tell me, what's up?"

"Lately, I'm hanging out with this girl."

"Are things working out?"

"I'm not into her till now, but she says she loves me."

"So what are you waiting for?"

"I don't know."

"By the way, who is she?"

"I will tell you only if it stays between us."

"Yeah, sure."


"It's Olive…Olivia."

"Olivia? The blonde with grey eyes."

"Yes, you're right."

"She is pretty."

"Yes, she is."

"Then what's the problem? What are you waiting for?"

"I don't feel a thing when I'm with her."

"What do you mean?"

"When I'm with Olive, It feels like I'm with a good friend, nothing more nothing less."

"But, you should reconsider it because it's difficult to get a girl these days."

"Well, leave that to me, tell me about you."

Meanwhile, our food arrived & was served hot to both of us.

Irrespective of eating, we kept talking.

"What do you want to know about me?" asked Ananya.

"Are you single?"

"I wish I was. I have a boyfriend whom I'm going to marry in a year."

"Oh, wow."


Though I look happy for Ananya's relationship, I was feeling sad deep inside.


Later that day, the same thing happened again. Ananya's car broke down. I waved my hand asking her to come with us, she walked till the car & asked me: "So, what did you say to Olivia?"

"Nothing yet."


"Okay, bye."

"What? Ain't you coming with us?"

"Nope"

"Why?"

"I'll only come with you if you promise me that you'll give your answer to Olivia."

"Oh, come on."

"Promise me."

"Okay, I will talk to her right after we reach home."

"Nice, Can you drive fast. It's getting late?"

"We would be halfway home if you didn't start this conversation."

After a while, I asked Ananya: "Ananya, Why are you so worried about my love life?"


"It's not like I want to Interfere, but Olivia is perfect for you."

"And you too."

"What?"

I don't know why I said that thing but knew how to cover it off.

I said, "I mean that you're right."

"Cool."

"So, How is your love life?"

"Nothing special."

"Sorry, I didn't get it."

"So, In my relationship, something feels like things are going a bit out of hand & after a while, It feels like everything is perfect."

"Why do you want to keep it like that? talk it out & get it fixed."


"Naah."

"Seriously, you said you'll marry him. What if it breaks everything you have now?"

"I was just kidding, and I'll figure it out, don't worry."

"What's his name again?"

"It's Noah."

"And we have reached Megan's place, can you wake her up?"

"Where is she?"

"She is in the back, haven't you observed her?"

"No, I thought you were alone in this car. Anyhow, I'll wake her up."

After a while, we reached Ananya's place, she got out of the car & started walking towards her house. But I thought she would talk or even look at me once, before leaving.

I was waiting for her to turn back before entering her house. But she didn't, I thought it was a bad day & was about to peddle off from there, but then I heard Ananya.

"Would you like to come in?" asked Ananya.

Inner me: "Oh my god, is this happening for real?"

Me: "Yes, If you Insist."

Ananya: "I insist. Please come in."

Inner me: "Who's the lucky pal today ?"

Me: "Let me park my car."



I went in, sat on the couch. To start it with a positive vibe, I said: "Your house looks nice."

"Common, don't lie."

"Why Would I?"

"Okay, Thank You."

"So, What's up?"

"Tell me, who in this world gave you a driving license?"

"What do you mean?"

"I'm just wondering, how did you approve your application, ain't you still a kid.."

"Whatever"

"So, how are things with Olivia?"

"Good."

"Nice."


"Who is your Noah?"

"As of now, he is an Astronaut at NASA."

"Whoa, an Astronaut."

"Yeah, that's what keeps him busy."

"Yeah, it might be"

"Forget about that, tell me, what do you want?"

"Nothing, I'm good."

"No, you have to take something. If this were India, they would have forced you to have something & I don't want to do that."

"Okay, I'll have just a glass of water."

"Oh, Come on. Do you drink?"

"Nope"

"How about a hot chocolate then?"

"It would be nice. Thanks."

"Don't be too formal. I will be back in a couple of minutes."


Since I was getting bored sitting there, Idly, I started Instagramming. While scrolling through the feeds, I came to Olivia's post. She posted a photo of her with a tattoo of my name.

Ananya arrived with two glasses of hot chocolate & I hid my phone in my pocket cause I was scared that If she sees it, she will force me to marry her. She looked so cute that I felt I should kiss her.

She looked at me & asked: "Why are you staring at me, like that?"

"You're looking beautiful."

"Thank you."


She gave me a cup of chocolate & asked to speak about Olivia. I started by saying: "She is cute, well mannered, well-disciplined."

"Stop it."

"Describe her as you are describing it to your friend."

"A Mirage came into my life,

I never thought that one day she would be my good wife.

She is cute, and She is kind, She is lovely,

If I lose her now, I'll be the biggest fool.

I call her Olive,

That's how she likes to get called.

I hope she is also like an Olive,

Exceptionally tasty, a little bitter & salty."

"Awesome, You're one hell of a poet."

"Thank you."


"Wow, did you write it?"

"Now, I just made it up now."

"Wow, you are extremely talented."

"Naah, it's not that great."

"Okay, now let's talk about your problem now."

"Which problem?"

"The problem which is stopping you from saying yes to Olivia."

"There is nothing like that."

"When did she confess?"

"Day before yesterday."

"It's been two days, you Idiot."

"So what, I need time."

"For what?"

"To think."


"What is making you think?"

"Hmm…….. I don't have anything in particular for now."

"Then, go say yes to her."

"I can't."

"Wait, You are in love with someone else?"

"Yes ……. I meant `no.`"

"Yes means yes, no means no. Tell me, Carl. what's happening here?"

"Nothing, that word just slipped out of my mouth. It often happens to me."

"You're hiding something from me."

"Nothing, Olive is way out of my league."

"Why do you think like that?"

"She is a good person & everyone like her."


"So?"

"A good girl like Olive ending up with a guy like me is not that appropriate"

"Why do you think so small about yourself?"

"I don't deserve her."

"There's nothing like that. You are a good person too. If you are not a good person, why would I go for lunch with you? Why would I call you into my house?"

Inner Me: "Shit, I love her."

"Yeah, you're right."

"Don't listen to people. They will have something to say every time."

"Okay"

"Now, go talk with Olive & figure things out."

"Okay, bye & thanks for the advice."


I called Olive when I reached my home. When I was on call, I realized that happiness was for Ananya, not Olivia. 

I said to Olivia: "Hey Olive, I'm a bit confused now. Can I tell my decision tomorrow morning when we meet?"

"Sure," said Olive.

"And I want to ask you something?"

"I'm listening."

"Are you out of your mind, Why did you get a tattoo on your hand?"

"I wanted to."

"But I haven't told you my decision right, what would you do if you said no."

"I'll erase it & move on."

"Erase it? How?"


"With oil."

"Will it work?"

"Yes"

"How?"

"It's a temporary tattoo."

"Thank god."

"Thank me."

"Please, don't do things like that again. Bye."

"Wait, how did you get to know?"

"Instagram. Bye."

"Bye, goodnight."



Later that night I hardly slept, I was thinking about whether to pick Olivia or Ananya.

I was talking to myself: "Olivia has a clean certificate from everyone, so does Ananya. Olivia doesn't have a boyfriend, Ananya does. More importantly, Olive loves me, Ananya might be or might not be. Olive is beautiful, so does Ananya. Olivia is as old as I am. Ananya is nine years older than me. Olivia is American, Ananya is half American & half Indian. Stop being a racist, Carl. Olivia lives far from here. Ananya lives nearby. Wait does it even matter?................" and the thoughts continue for the whole night like this.









Chapter 2

Inverse







For Megan -

You were there when I wasn't alone & you were there when I was, but I wasn't.Sorry.After a sleepless night & a lot rethinking, I decided whom to pick. The first thing in the morning was to ask Olive for a date. I called her, I said, "Good Morning, Olive."

"Good Morning, my love."

"How about dinner tonight?"

"Is it a date?"

"Kinda"

"Oh My God, I can't believe it."

"I don't care whether you believe it or not, just be there on time."

"Where?"

"Gracie's."

"Is it in Providence?"

"Yes"

"If we are going for dinner, I would suggest someplace near my home."

"Why?"

"It will be hard for me to travel back that late at night."

"After dinner, we can have a movie night at Megan's place, & then you can leave in the morning."

"But what about tomorrow's college? I will be late."

"Tomorrow is Saturday"

"Sorry, I forgot."

"So, is the plan clear?"

"Yeah."

I said: "Cool, bye." and hung up my phone.


I thought of talking to Megan before talking to Olive.

I saw her sitting in the canteen with a random guy, looking like she was on her work.

I went closer to them & said: "I want to talk with you."

"Can't you see, I'm talking with someone here," said Megan.

"Oh, is it." & turned towards that guy & asked: "I'll be stealing Megan for a while. I hope that's okay."

"Yeah," said that guy.

I said: "Come on, Megan. It's crucial."

"Yeah, I'm coming," said Megan.

I took her to the next table & told her everything.


After hearing all of that, she said: "Looking at you, I would say don't think about what is right & what is wrong, you seem pretty confident with your decision."

"What should I do?"

"Listen to your heart; don't get all freaked out."

"Thanks, Megan."

"I'm always there for you. Anyways all the best."

"So will you come with me?."

"What will I do there?"

"Come with me, sit on another table."

"Why?"

"So that I'll be confident enough to speak."

"Cool, I'm coming."

After the talk with Megan, I became more confident to fix things. I bunked all the afternoon classes, went home, took a sweet sleep, & killed my stress out & when I woke up, I dressed up for the big night.

I had to pick olive, so I had to go out of providence, pick her up, come back to Providence again, it took me 2 hours to do all of it & Olive was silent for the whole journey, I thought she was a bit nervous.

We reached the restaurant, ordered some food, we only spoke when we were ordering food & that too with the waiter. The silence was a bit awkward & it was making me even more nervous, Neither she was talking nor was I.

It took me twenty minutes to break the ice.


I said: "Isn't this restaurant nice?" and started searching for Meg. She was sitting right next to us. She wore a hoodie & was reading a newspaper so that Olive can't see her face.

She replied: "Yeah."

"Is everything fine?"

"Yeah"

"I didn't see you around today, did you come today?"

"Yeah."

I didn't understand why was she saying yeah to everything I asked, but I thought let's start the game 

and said: "I was thinking about it the whole night & I'm here with an answer."

"What is it?"


"From the past few days, I felt something new has come into my life, something which is making my life beautiful. Lately, I figured out it's because of one person & I want to get together with that person. Sorry, Olive."

"It isn't me?"

"Unfortunately, yes. It's not you."


That's all I had to say, she stood up & ran away crying.

Apart from all of this, I would say she had a beautiful set of eyes.

Once Olive ran away, Megan moved to my table 

and shouted: "What's this shit?"

It was too loud that everyone was looking at us. I left a 20 dollar bill at the table & took Meg out of the restaurant.


"What was that, dude?" asked Meg.

"Calm down, Meg."

"Aren't you into Olive?"

"No, It's something else."

"What?"

"Yes, it started with attraction & it became the thing."

"Now, I want to know who's that."

"You won't believe me."

"Then make me fucking believe it."

"Okay, it's Ananya."

"Seriously? Ms. Hathaway."

"Yeah."

"Are you sure that you're not making this up?"

"Do you think I would?"

"Dude, she is way older than you."


"I don't care."

"I knew that this would happen someday."

"Anyhow, let's go."

"Why did that bitch trapped you? How can she do something like this with a student?"

"She did nothing & this is the last time I'm listening to that word about her."

"Seriously, she did nothing & you fell for her just like that?"

"Yeah"

"Dude, you have a lot of things to sort out."

"I don't need to."

"Does Ananya know about it?"

"No, she also thinks I should love Olive."

"Wow, you are a crap bag."


"Common, it's not that bad."

"I had enough of mental shit today, let's stop this fucking discussion & let's go home."

"Okay, your wish is my command, Madam."

"Shut up."


That day was the last time I ever saw Olive, well I'll miss her, I'll miss her face & her beautiful smile on it. I'll miss all the places we have visited. I'll miss all those dinners, where she paid the bills. I'll miss the dinner today.

I'll miss Olive for the rest of my life.


It's been three months since I broke up with Olive. Well, it wasn't technically a breakup, we stopped seeing each other.


A few months later, Megan's parents died in a car accident. It was too mysterious. Megan got affected a lot from the incident. She became an invisible person, and she didn't even step out of her house. She used to skip college & food. After her parents passed away, there was no one to take care of her, except me.


I didn't get to know her parents a lot. The only person whom I know well from that house is Megan, and since she is my responsibility now. I decided to check how Meg's doing & I left for her home.

It was a cloudy day, and the door wasn't locked & slightly opened it and went in & closed the door but when I was closing the door, 

I felt like something passed behind me. Though It gave me chills down my spine, I thought It was just a hallucination. 

When I was walking towards Meg's room, I smelled something foul, like rotten meat. It was coming from the refrigerator. I opened it to find out that the beef there was rotten, as I expected. It smelled horrible, so I got rid of it & cleaned my hands thrice. 

I went into her room, and she wasn't there, I thought she might be using the washroom. I sat on her bed, waiting, in the meantime, I was Instagramming. I heard a small whisper near my right ear, it was very feeble & I didn't understand what It was, so I ignored it & continued my thing.


After a while, I realized that It'd been half an hour since I walked in. So I went to check Meg & guess what she was not there. 

I searched for her in every room, except for her parent's room. 


At last, I went there. She was there sleeping on her parent's bed. When I was about to wake her up, something pulled me from my back. I turned back in agitation & I saw her parents, but they were looking different, translucent, as people show spirits in movies.

I asked them: "What are you doing here & how did you come here?"

Meg's Mother. Elizabeth replied: "We don't have time to answer your questions, listen to me. Please take care of Megan. You are our only hope, and please promise us that you'll never leave Megan."


"I promise, I'll never leave Megan."

"Thank You, dear."

"Can you answer my question?"

"Yes, we can."

"In brief, Do you want me to marry Megan?"

"It would be nice if you do, but again It's your choice."

"Thank You."

I heard a loud, masculine voice: "Your time's up." & they both vanished into the air.


I woke up to myself sleeping on the same bed, where Megan was sleeping a few minutes ago, I went out searching for Meg & again she was not in the home.

I felt something odd happening & thought of checking outside the house.


As I walked out of her house, I saw Meg sitting on the balcony, staring at nothing.

 I sat beside her. She was surprised to see me there.

"How did you get into my house?" asked Meg.

"As people do, from the door."

"When did you come?"

"An hour ago."

"No way, don't lie. I'm sitting here from the past 2 hours."

"Why would I lie?"

"Did you break into my house?"

"Come on, Meg. Why would I ever do that?"

"Leave it, what brought you here?"

"You."

"Okay, then come join me."

"For what? Staring at nothing?"


"It's better than doing nothing."

"For me, they both sound the same."

"What else can I expect from you?"

"Anyways, Will you marry me, Megan?"

"Yes, I will. But before that, I'll beat the hell out of you."

"I'm serious."

"Well, I never thought of that. I don't know. Wait, What about Ananya? I thought you loved her."

"I don't know, she already has a boyfriend & we both being together is not a likely thing to happen."

"Don't give up so easily."

"Easily? Do you think It will work out? She is ten years older than me & she is already engaged. Even if she gets to know about my love, she'll think that's a joke. She'll never take it seriously."


"But that doesn't mean you have to marry me."

"Wow, the conversation became weird from fun in a split second."

"I'm sorry but for real. Will you marry me?"

"My answer to that question will be ……. the same as yours."

"Why are we discussing this now?"

"I don't know."

"Idiot, you are the one who started this."

"Yeah"

"Idiot"

"Okay, I'm sorry."

"Leave it; let's order something. I'm hungry."


I asked: "Why can't we go out & have something?"

"Yes, we can. Give me 5 mins. I'll change into something better."

"I wish you could change in 5 mins."


We went to an Indian Restaurant, it was my first time there, as we sat, Meg kicked my feet & whispered: "Look back, she's there."

I asked: "Who?"

"Ananya"

"Where?"

"There near that painting, she is in red."

"Oh, yeah."

"She came here with someone, look. He is taller than you, older than you & probably smarter than you."

"He is her boyfriend, Noah."


"Awwww …. Don't be sad, I'll be your backup."

I replied: "I'm not sad."

"Sorry, you are not just sad. You are jealous too."

"Whatever"

"Okay, let's order something or else I'll die"

"Let me call the waiter."

When I was calling the nearby waiter, Ananya looked at me. She was looking gorgeous in the hue of the restaurant. She waved her hand.

As a reply, I also waved my hand back. Ananya asked us to join them. How can I say no, so we joined them?


For the first few minutes, no one spoke, so I broke the ice by asking Ananya why she came so long for this restaurant.

"Yeah, it's far from my home, but Noah lives nearby. By the way, Noah, this is Carl & Megan & this is Noah." Said Ananya.

"Nice names." Said Noah.

I asked: "What's the plan after dinner?"

"Nothing. Noah is going to Florida tonight, so I'll go back to house & sleep.," said Ananya.

"Oh, Meg & I are going to a nearby street. This street is only active during nights & there's a lot of food."

"Nice, I wanna come too, but ..." said Megan.

"Join us."

"No, thanks."


I said: "Please, join us. I insist."

"Instead of wasting your time alone in your house, you can do this," said Noah to Ananya.

"Okay, I'm coming," said Ananya.


When we reached the food street, Meg said that she has some important things to do & she left. So only Ananya & I were there, I knew why Meg left. She left because she wants me to spend some time with Ananya alone.


Though we were there for like 2 hours, nothing exciting happened. We just ate, drank, & ate more & in the end, I had to drop Ananya home.

When we reached her place, before getting down, she asked me: "So, what's up?"


"Nothing great, I'll be going to Meg's place now."

"Now? This late?"

 "Yeah, no one's here & I hate being alone."

"You can come to my house."

"No thanks, anyways I'm going to Meg's house." 

"She might be sleeping now, why disturb her? I'm also alone here. We can watch a movie. Please, I insist."


I had to stay, anyways I was going to stay, but without doing this drama, it wouldn't be much fun.

I was sitting on the couch idle, waiting for her to come. She came back wearing a red tee which has a quote "Love > Stigma" & apart from that, she was looking gorgeous.

"Would you care for a drink?"


"I don't drink. Thank you."

"Sorry, I forgot."

"You can drink if you want to."

"Well, thank you."


She brought a red wine bottle from a nearby almirah & while pouring it into the glass, she asked me: "How are things with Olivia?"

"We broke up."

"What?"

"It's not technically a break-up. We were not in a relationship in the first place."

"What happened?"

"I said sorry to her because I loved someone else."


"Wait… what? When did this happen?"

"The day after we discussed the stuff about this."

"But you said you'd talk to Olivia the next day, right?"

"Yeah"

"So you got a person to love between meeting Olive & the night you left from here."

"No, I was interested in that person for a long, long time."

"Oh, who is that lucky girl?"

"Believe me. You don't wanna know."

"Tell me, na."

"Nope, I can't."

"Why?"

"I don't know."

"Okay, let me guess."


"Is it Megan?"

"Naah"

"Hmm... Do I know that person?"

"Yeah, more than I do."

"What? Seriously? Who is it?... Don't say it's me?"

"Yes, it's you. I love you."

"Hahaha, Nice one. Now tell me, who is that girl?"

"I'm not joking. I'm serious about this. I love you, Ananya."

She spewed the wine after hearing that & gave me a stale look & said: "If that's true, thank you."

"You are welcome, my love."

"I hope you know that I'm ten years older than you."

"Yeah, I know."


"Well, age is not much of a constraint, trust & understanding are the key factors according to me," said Ananya.

"Yeah, sounds true."

"From when you have feelings for me?"

"From the day we met"

"Anyways, what do you wanna watch?"

"Before that, I don't want this in between us."

"Okay, now tell me the movie."

"What is your favorite genre?"

"Well, I don't have any favorite genre though, If the movie is good, irrespective of the genre, I'll watch it."

"Let's watch, The Perks of Being a Wallflower."

"I never heard of it."

"But believe me, It's an awesome movie."


"If you say so, what kind is it?"

"Just regular drama."

"Okay, then let's watch it."

"I have it with me at my house."

"Oh, so what will we do, bring it here?"

"Give me 5 mins. I'll go, fetch it & come back,"

"I'll come with you."

"Why? It's nearby so I can go alone."

"I'm scared of living alone this late night."

"Okay, then."


We went to my house, found the disc, came back & played it & figured out that it's a different movie, but then I realized that I forgot to label CDs, so I brought in the whole box of CDs & we went through all of them to find the right one.


The next morning, I woke up to some song. It was coming from Ananya's room, I don't know what language the song was in, but it sounded good. 

After a while, she came out & gave me a coffee & said: "That was a nice film."

I said: "See, I know stuff."

"Whatever"

"What was that song, which you were playing a few minutes back?"

"It's Om Namaha from Movie Geethanjali."

"Is it a Spanish film?"

"Naah, It's an Indian movie & I love this film. I watched like 200-300 times till now & I still feel I didn't watch enough."

"Wow, what is the movie about?"


"So there is a guy who has cancer and falls in love with a girl who has an incurable heart condition."

"Pretty strange, but a nice Idea. Do they both die?"

"I don't know. The film is only about how they get into love & and discover each other's sickness."

"Nice, I would like to watch it someday.."

"We will, for sure."

"Thank you."

"You're welcome. What will you have for breakfast?"

"No, thanks. I'll leave now."

"Why?"

"I'll have to wake up Meg & have to make something for her breakfast there."

"Let's invite her here. It will be nice."

"I don't think she will come."

"Let's give it a try."

She calls Meg & asks her to join us for breakfast, as a surprise, Meg says yes. She even says she'll come on her own & there's no need to pick her up.

"See, I said she would come," said Ananya.

"She rarely comes out these days. Anyways I'll have to go to my house."

"Why again?"

"I have to brush my teeth."

"Okay, then."

"Okay, I'll be back soon."



While going back, I thought I should look nice, so I dressed as if I was going out for a date. After I reached Annaya's place, Megan looked at me and asked Ananya: "Are we going somewhere out?"

"No, we are not," replied Ananya.

"Then why is this idiot dressed like this?" asked Meg.

"To impress me," replied Ananya.

"Impress you? Why?"

"He says he loves me,"

"What? Seriously? He asked me to marry him yesterday."

"WTF? What is this, Carl? You're playing double games."

I replied: "I can explain."



I don't know what else to say there. I never thought about a condition like this. Who knew that these girls would be kicking my ass one day? I had to do something, or else things would get worse.

When I was hatching a story in my brain,

Meg said: "I was joking."

"And what do you think I was doing?" said Ananya.

I said: "For a minute, I was like 'shit, did I?'. Thank god."

"Don't act, smart uh." Said Ananya.

"Jokes apart, let's have something. I have butterflies in my stomach," said Meg.



"It's Indian today. I hope you are okay with it?" asked Ananya.

I asked: "What's Indian?"

"Breakfast."

"I don't have any problem if it is edible."

"I don't care what it is, I just want food," said Meg.


We had some cake for breakfast, it was round, white & a bit soft. Ananya said they call them Idly & we are supposed to dip them in chutney & eat. While eating, she played another unrecognizable song on her mobile.

I asked: "What is this again?"

"A song, another Indian one." Said Ananya.

"But this sounds so different from the other one."


"Yes, because that was a Telugu song & this is a Hindi one."

"What?"

"They are two different languages."

"How many languages do you follow?"

"Five, namely Urdu, which is my mother tongue, Hindi, which is the national language of India, English, Telugu, & French."

"Wow nice, You are great you know so many languages."

"Nah, this is comparatively less. Indian has 22 recognized languages & around 300 non-recognized."

"India is an amazing country, I'm looking forward to visiting it."

"Yeah, you can come to India for my marriage."

"Yeah, sure. ... Sure, why not? ...Sure, I'll come."

"What happened to you, Carl?" asked Meg.

I said, "Nothing, I'm fine."

I don't know why Ananya tried to change the topic, she knew that it would hurt me. She said to Meg: "leave him, can we watch a movie?"

I said: " Again, we watched one, just last night."

"So, Is there any problem?"

"No, I was just telling."

"What should we watch?"

"Can we watch the one, from which you played a song in the morning?"

"Oh, yeah we can. But will Meg like it."

"What is the name of that movie?" asked Meg.

"It's Geethanjali," replied Ananya.

"Oh nice, we can watch. I love that film"


I asked Meg with a question mark face: "How do you know about this film?"

"I have watched it," replied Meg.

"When?"

"The other day, that girl Rashi was watching this film one day, it looked interesting so I joined her."

"It's hard to believe that you watched an Indian film."

"I don't care whether you believe it or not."

"Kids, stop fighting. Finish your breakfast quickly, so that we can watch that movie."



We thought of watching a single movie, but it became three by the end of the day. We have spent our whole day at her house. It was time for us to say goodbye to her, I felt that I was missing something & I don't want to leave that place. I don't know when I will get to spend some fantastic time with her again.

Ananya hugged Meg & thanked her for coming, but for me, there was only a handshake. To give us both some time, Meg said that she would wait in my car & left.

I said: "It's hard to say bye."

"I know, I'll miss you."

"I'll miss you too. Can't wait to see you again tomorrow."

"No, I'm off for a couple of days. I'm going to CA for my friend's marriage."

"Marriage? Nice."


"Yeah, she is an Indian Friend. I met her when I was studying in Mumbai, India."

"Nice, what's her name again?"

"It's Megha."

"It sounds similar to Megan, anyways Congratulate them on my behalf."

"Sure, I will do it."

"Okay, meg is waiting in your car."

"Yeah, I'm going. Bye, Take care."

"I'll miss you."

"Same here."


It was hard for me to spend those days without her, It's different before & after confessing, you know. Before It's with you like a secret, the feelings will be compressed but once you say it out, those feelings are not compressed anymore they sit on your head all the time. I wish I never confessed it to Ananya.


It might sound foolish, but I never felt hungry, my mood was always off & I hardly talked with Megan during those two days.

As the second day came to end, I became more happy & excited because I knew that she is coming tomorrow.

As I was happy about her arrival tomorrow, I got an email from Ananya to my college mail Id. She said she will come after a week because after so many days she met all her college friends & they all have planned to spend a few days in CA together.


I didn't know what to do, so I replied to her mail saying: "I have missed you a lot these days, I'll miss you for the rest of the days too. But don't forget that I love you. Take care."

I got an Instant reply to that mail: "Don't be sad, I'll be there in a week. I'm missing you too"

"Can I come?"

"It would be nice, but please don't."

"Okay, I can never understand you."


I had no choice but to miss her for the rest of the days. In the meantime, I discovered that Meg is dating someone & that guy is afraid of me because he saw me that day in the fight.

Even though it was too early for them, Meg & Victor decided to take their relationship to the next level. 

Victor moved into Meg's house. It kinda made me sad 'cause I can no more visit Megan's place whenever I want to. Though I'm happy for Meg, I'm also sad because I felt that she will be spending a lot less time with me, she has someone more important than me in her life now.


Weeks later:

To get past the loneliness I started hanging out with Ananya & looked like we were becoming friends. 

One day Ananya called me & asked me out for a film. 

At first, I was happy thinking that she was getting onto the track, later I realized that she called me because Noah had to go to some other place & his ticket was getting wasted. Even though I was not that happy, I said yes. After we watched the film she said she liked going out with me, why wouldn't she be, I always make her feel special.



We decided that I would stay with her for the whole weekend, only two of us. On Saturday things went real smooth. We did a lot of shopping & then we cooked some food & played some Mad Libs.

In the middle of the game, she fell asleep so I thought I should leave but she asked me to sleep in the guest room but I thought I better leave & left.

The following day, she asked me to come in at noon saying that she needs more sleep. When I reached her place, she shouted at me saying: "Why the heck did you leave, when I asked you to stay?"

"I didn't feel comfortable, staying & don't shout at me."

"It's okay if you didn't stay, but you should have locked the door."


"Oops, sorry. Did something happen?"

"Nope, but something would have."


After the discussion, we started watching The Notebook, but in the middle of the film, she got a call & after the call, she said that she has to go because some friends came over to Noah's place & she has to go visit them but she promised me that she will call me once she is back.

I thought I should go visit Meg 'cause I didn't hear from her for a while. Things were getting better between Victor & Meg. She became a normal person again, & I think Victor gets the credit but the closer I was getting to Ananya, the far I was getting from Meg. I didn't know what to do, I decided to wait & watch.


When I was about to leave Meg's place, Ananya pinged me, asking me to come over. Though It was almost midnight & I so wanted to meet her. She also asked me to get a beer for her.

I went to the nearest wine shop & asked them for a beer, the person there said he'll not sell me a beer because I looked underaged. After all, I was & I had to bribe him to get the beer, you know how the world works.

After reaching Ananya's place I told her about this incident. She apologized & said she will never ask me again for beer, it felt a bit overreaction but who cares all I wanted to spend time with her.

We played Mad Libs again for a while & as expected she loved it.


After a few minutes, I noticed that her lipstick was the thing that was making a difference & it was too distractive, all I wanted was to kiss her. I don't know whether it was wrong but I didn't dare to do it though.


A few days later, when we were doing one of our weekend night outs. I was interested in paranormal stuff from my childhood itself cause my mom was a witch. Anyways, we decided to share some paranormal stuff that day. She said that she never witnessed a ghost sighting but she heard a lot of stories from her friends about this, which she believes are fake & made up.



As we know, I had a lot to talk about this kinda stuff. She asked me to share my experience. I started with my vision from the first day of college & then I started sharing about the recent incident.

"Tell me what happened," asked Ananya.


"So this happened a few months back, those were days when Meg was still in the pain of her parent's death & one day I went to check how things are with Meg. I go there & find out that the door is open & she is nowhere to find in the house. When I was checking her parent's bedroom & guessed what she was sleeping on her parent's bed. I try to wake her up, her parent's souls appear & they ask me to promise to care for Meg. I asked them, do they want me to marry Meg & they say it would be nice if I do, it's my choice again. All of a sudden a strange voice says time's up & they disappear. & guess what the next minute I find myself sleeping on the same bed where Meg was sleeping right before a few minutes & I find her sitting in the balcony."

"A pretty strange one."

"But why do these things only happen with you?"

"Do you seriously think that I know?"


"No."

"Anyhow, seriously you have nothing to tell?"

"Yeah, I have something to share. I heard this from my mom."

"Common, start."

"This happened in my grandmother's era, so there in my grandma's village there was a beautiful girl, people used to die to even get to see her. In addition to her beauty, she had two strong & muscular brothers & who used to scare people like anything. One day a guy comes to ask the beautiful girl to marry him, he was a stray so they reject them."

I asked: "Then, what?"



"After the rejection, the guy plans to use black magic to make that girl a bit sick, which makes people think she is dead & they'll bury her. When that happens, he goes there, uses black magic to get her out, fulfills his wishes & then buries her back. Remember all with magic, he will not dig her out."

I said: "Interesting."

"So as he expects they bury her, but someone informs that girl's brother about this stuff. There was a tree near that girl's grave, the brother will sit on that with a sword. So when the guy comes & gets his sister out, he will jump from the tree & using his sword he will split that guy's head into two. Which saves the girl & gets her out of the magic too."

I asked: "So did the plan work?"

"It worked, or else I wouldn't be sitting here in front of you today," said Ananya.


"I quite didn't get it."

"That beautiful girl was my grandmother."

"Oh, nice. So you believe this?"

"I can't say yes, I can't say no."

"Nice, anyway. Where did this happen?"

"In Karachi, former India. It's now in Pakistan."

"Nice, India has a lot of things."

"Yeah. So I have a nice story to share but it's a love story."

"Nice. Is it your granny's story again?"

"Yeah."

"I'm ready to listen."

"Before the story, you have to know a lot about India's history. So India that time was way bigger than India you see today. It had Pakistan, Bangladesh, parts of Afghanistan, parts of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan & even parts of Myanmar."

"That's huge."

"Yeah, Initially It was ruled by kings from kingdoms. Then the British came to India & they started colonizing it."

"I know this part."

"Nice, then I can skip it, okay the next thing is that."

"So those were the days when India was fighting with British for the freedom & In the Pakistan part of India, people wanted that part to be separately recognized as a country. So fights were happening between the Muslims & the other minorities who used to live there. So this story is from that era."

"Nice, this sounds Interesting."


"This was before the fights even started, my grandmother's father, who is my great-grandfather. He was the richest Jeweler in that locality & he had a lot of friends there. His best friend Abdul loved his sister? So my Great-grandfather accepted their marriage, even if it was inter-religion.

After a few years, my great-grandfather & his friend both were blessed with children. That's when my grandmother was born.

As time passed they grew up & my grandmother fell in love with my grandfather aka her aunt's son, Sameer."

I asked: "Wow, he is her cousin right?"

"Yeah"

"So, how can she love him?"

"In India, it happens."

"Anyhow, let's continue."


"So, yeah. They love each other, but no one knows & the time arrives. All the Pakistani Muslims want a separate country, which India was not giving & then they started killing all the Hindu in Pakistan. One day Sameer's father comes to my great-grandfather's home & asks them to move to India or else in some days people may kill them. My disappointed great-grandfather decided to leave Karachi, but the problem was my grandmother was in love & she was pregnant too. My grandfather decided to come with them to India.

They pack everything & they go to the port to board a ship to take them to Bombay. My grandfather's friend appears & tells his son that his mom is sick & she wants to see you. So he promises my grandmother that he will come to her & he leaves with his father. The Sailor dies unexpectedly & since my great-grandfather had some knowledge on it, he does what he can do & after like 7 days or something they finally see the land. They arrive at the coastal city of Visakhapatnam."

I asked: "Nice, then what? your grandmother got married to another guy?"

"No, she waited for my grandfather till her last breath. Since she was pregnant she gave birth to my mom," said Ananya.

"Nice, I like this one. You can make a book out of this."

"Yeah but I'm not that creative."

"Give it a try."

"Yeah, let's see where it goes."

"How did you get this American surname?"

"Don't I look like an American?"

"You, do. But you said you are Indian."

"Yes, I'm."

"Again, Then how did you get the American surname?"

"My mother married an American."

"Nice, but your surname matches with Anne Hathaway."


"Yeah, she is my cousin."

"WTF? Seriously, I'm a big fan of hers."

"Nice, same here."

"Have you met her?"

"Yeah, we used to hang out a lot once, now since she is married it got hard."

"Can you help me to meet her?"

"Yeah, why not. She will come to my marriage. You can meet her there."

"Can't I meet her before?"

"Let me try, why ain't you coming for my marriage?"

"No, I'm sick of these marriages."

"Common, I'm your best friend."

"That doesn't matter, I'm sorry."

"Look, you have to face your marriage one day."

"If it happens."


December 2014

    That day was Christmas Eve, I casually called to talk for a while. She receives the call & goes: "Carl, Where are you? Can you come over?"

I asked: "now?"

"Yeah, I'm sad."

"I'm coming."


I go there & she Ananya sitting on the floor holding a red wine bottle in her hand.

I ask her: "What happened, dude? Why are you sitting here with a wine bottle?"

"Because I'm out of beer."

"What? What happened? Why are you so sad?"


"I knew that this would happen one day, & see it happened."

"What happened?"

"He cheated on me."

"What? Seriously? When & how did this happen?"

"So I went to his home, to give him a surprise & I caught him fucking his colleague."

"What? I can't believe this."

"Even It was hard for me to believe my own eyes, after being caught he said he got bored of me & wanted to break up with me."

"What did you do then?"

"I came back from there."

"Okay, so do you still want him back in life? do you wanna forgive him?"


"No, once a cheater is always a cheater. He broke my trust."

"It's okay, now go to your bed. It's too late. It's Christmas tomorrow"

"I will, but before that I want you to promise me something."

"What?"

"Till now, everyone I trusted, betrayed me. I don't want you to be them. Now promise me that you'll never betray me."

"I promise that I'll not betray you, till my last breath. I love you Ananya."

"Thank you & love you too."

"What, seriously? You said it?"

"Yeah, I love you as a friend."









Chapter 3

Love/Hate






For Megan -

If you both were the gems, You'll be the rarest & she will be expensive.


Before reaching planet Verdure, we had to take a slingshot near a black hole NCS 1290. Well, it's not just a normal black hole, it's supermassive. A small mistake in the maneuver can cost us everyone's life on the ship.


I was reciting my story to Margaret, we got an alarm that the trajectory of our spaceship has been changed & which means we were getting much closer to the black hole than we anticipated. We only had a few minutes to change the trajectory before we got sucked into the colossal hole.

NCS 1290 was way bigger than we predicted so the gravity pull was also way more & theoretically speaking, this ship should be able to help get us out of this thing.

I asked Margaret: "What should we do now?"

"We should change the trajectory?" replied Margaret.


I asked, "I know that but how?"

"We have to change the trajectory coordinates" replied Margaret.

"I know, but we have to calculate them first."

"Yeah, Let's do it."

"I'm panicked right now, my brain isn't working."

"Let me do that then."

"What? You can do this?"

"Yeah, I need something to write."

"We have some papers & pens there & do remember that we only have a few minutes"


She did it, she did all the calculations by herself. It wasn't like I didn't trust her calculations, but I was a little skeptical about it. But those numbers worked out fine, we took a successful slingshot.

Margaret saves the day & we continue our journey towards our hope, Planet Verdure.


I said: "You are freaking awesome, Dude. You saved all of our lives."

"Thank You, Captain," said Margaret.

"You're welcome, Ms. Margaret."

"My friends call me Margo, you can also call me Margo."


"How about Go?"

"Sounds great, Is it from Gone Girl?"

"Yes, it is."

"Anyways, let's continue with your story."

"I don't know why you are so interested in my life."

"I love real-life stories"

"This will be the worst story you'll ever hear."

"But still it's interesting"

"Cool, Where were we?"

"Noah got caught cheating & she broke up with him."

"Yeah."

From that day, we started having drink nights. She usually grabs a beer & we sit in her lobby & talk random shit. One day we talk about politics, another day we talk about movies & sometimes about her love.

One day she asked me to say something about Meg. I had no idea why she was asking this.

I said: "In simple words, She is the person whom I hate most & whom I love bazillion times of that."

"You care about her a lot, but she never gives a shit about it."

"No, she has her life & I respect that."

"But she never cared about you. You are just like another friend for her"

"That's your perception."

"And I'm saying, that's the truth."


"If this is what you wanted to talk about, please don't call me again."

"Calm down."

"I don't want to talk about it."

"You always say that you love me so much."

"Yeah, of course. I do."

"What if you have to choose one of us?" asked Ananya.

"Seriously? Of course, I'll choose her."

"Believe me, If I was your girlfriend. I'll never see your face again."

"I don't care. If love keeps us both apart, then I don't want it."

She raised her glass of wine & said: "For your friendship."

I lifted my glass of juice & said: "For my love".


Our drinking nights continued till one day when she decided that she would stop having alcohol because she feels that she was becoming fat or else chubby to make it sound cute.

I can say that she gained a bit of weight, but she was not as fat as she was thinking. She started doing a hell of a lot of things, some days she stops eating food & says she is fasting. If I ask her why she says that it's good for health.

I even tried convincing her that these things will ruin her health. But she never listened to me, she was stubborn AF & guess what that's what I like a lot about her, I think we will make a perfect pair.

A few days later,

  Some students from our college plan for a forest camp for 3 days. I had to go because that will be the last time I will be spending time with those guys and we will come back when the final exams start.

Since it was a forest, there was no reception. I didn't talk with Ananya for those 3 days. 

On the third & final day, we discovered that if we climb the hill nearby, we can get some reception. I tried calling Ananya, it nearly took half an hour for the call to get connected. When she received my call, I saw a giant fat black cloud coming towards our camp with a lot of thunderstorms.

Ananya was saying something related to her father & the call got disconnected.

That freaking rain even delayed our schedule by one more day.

When I came back, I charged my mobile & got freshened up.

When I came back I saw a couple of messages from Ananya on my phone.

The first one says:

"I'm sorry, I had to go to India, my father asked me to come. He says there is something I need to do."

The second one says:

"I knew that this would happen, my father called me to talk about my marriage. He said he has a proposal from his friend's son. I know him from my childhood, he is a nice guy. Let's see where this goes. Apart from all of these, I don't know why I still can't forget about that bastard. I think I still love him. it's time for you to get a life. Bye kiddo."

All those days, I hoped that one day or the other she would accept my love & after the breakup with Noah it became strong. After reading these messages my hope got stabbed twice in his heart & died because of blood loss.

I have seen people becoming too sad in movies when their love fails as if there was nothing else in this world except for love & I always used to think that's just fictional & it never happens in real life. Now, I know what it feels like.

In the Initial days, it was too much for me to digest, whatever I used to do reminded me of her. Just when I was thinking that I was getting over her, my brain hit me like a hammer with the intrusive thoughts of her. When I was getting better, I got a call from Ananya asking me to come to her Marriage.

"Hello, Carl." Said Ananya.

I asked: "Hi, how are you?"

"I'm doing good but there's a lot of work. I hate marriages."


"Are you kidding?"

"I hate it because of things, you don't know about Indian Marriages."

"Anyways, congratulations."

"Thank you, I sent you an email with the to & fro tickets ."

"Tickets? For what?"

"Aren't you coming?"

"I don't know, Ananya."

"Anyways, it's up to you. It would be nice if you come."

"Let's see."

"I have to go now, I have a lot of work."

"Bye, take care."

"You too."



As the call ended, I heard my doorbell. I opened it, I guess who was there It's Meg. She was standing there, with a medium-sized bag.

I asked: "How can I help you, mam?"

"I would like to book a room here," replied Meg.

"Sorry miss, all the rooms are taken."

"Ah, but I think you can help me with it."

"I'm sorry miss."

"What if I blow you?"

"Shut up. It's disgusting."

"Anyways, I'm here to give company to you for a few days."

"Why?"

"Dude, my house is haunted."

"What? How come it became haunted all of a sudden & where is Victor?"


"If you are done with questions, can I come in now?"

"Yeah, of course."

"I'll be staying here for a few days until Victor comes back."

"If you want, you can stay here forever too."

"What do you mean by that?"

"You know."

"But sorry, I have a boyfriend."

"Whatever?"

"How are things with Ananya?"

"She is getting married."

"With whom? You?"

"Of course, No."

"Why did you become sad, after I asked about her?"

"You know, It happens."


"No, I don't know & I don't want to listen to anything. I can't see you like this."

"What else can I do?"

"Go to Johnny Rockets, have a rootbeer float & forget about it."

"It isn't that easy."

"Then how difficult is it?"

"I don't know."

"She is not coming back, Carl. Forget about her."


Who knew that a rootbeer float can help you, instead of using it as only a drink, I used it like a friend with whom I can say anything. After every conversation, it used to become much tastier.

I used to visit Johnny Rockets so much, now I can say that every other glass there knows about my love story.

Initially, I thought not to go to Ananya's Marriage but what else I can do. That was the only chance for me to see her ever again. If I missed it I don't know whether she will come back to the US or stay in India. Before boarding the flight I wanted to have a rootbeer float because that was the only thing that kept me strong these days.

While I was having my root beer float, I heard a loud cracking sound of the glass & guess what when I turned back, I saw the great douchebag Noah. I thought to ignore him, finish my drink & go away but he wasn't thinking the same.

"Hey, dude. How are you?" said Noah.

I replied: "Good."

"How is she?"

"It's none of your business."

"Why am I even asking you? She will be fine."

"What?"

"Listen, dude, I may be wrong but that day kid, when we met I saw it in your eyes. Believe, don't waste your time behind her"

"Why am I even talking to you?"

"Believe me, she is a big arrogant piece of shit."

"She might be arrogant, but she isn't a cheater like you."

"Oh, that's what she said to you, uh?"

"Yeah & I know it's the truth"

"I'll tell you what happened that day, one of my old friends came to Providence for some days. Since I was the only person for her to reach, she stayed with me. That day Ananya came in, I was in the kitchen & my friend was using my washroom. Ananya was sitting on my bed in my room & she saw my friend coming out of the bathroom with a towel because she was taking a bath & Ananya thinks I was cheating but in the first place if I was cheating on her. Why would I let her in?"


"It makes sense but If that was the case, why didn't you try to tell her about this?"

"Why should I? I always want to get rid of her."

"Why?"

"Because she is short-tempered & I also feel she is cheating on me with you."

"Cheating on you? Ananya? Seriously?"

"Yeah, Initially I thought you both are a thing."

"Shut up.."

"Well, then it's good for you."

"You are such a dick"

"Looks like we both are."

I said, "If it wasn't for her, you would have been dead by now." & left that place.

For a moment I felt that Noah has a valid story, but who cares. She is not mine or his anymore.


#India


She was wearing a white silk saree, which had a red & yellow-colored border to it. Believe me, I never saw her that beautiful before. I wished that I could kiss her, I know that I shouldn't think like that but I can't tell it to my brain.

I stayed for the whole wedding rehearsal, sitting in a chair where I can see her.

My sadness & my mood were inversely proportional to the time left for her marriage. After a few moments, Ananya came to me & thanked me for coming.

"How are things?" asked Ananya.

I asked, "Do you love him?"

"Who, Nikhil? Naah."

"Then, Why are you doing this?"

"Because I know him, he is a nice guy & parent's like him."

"So you are doing this for your parent's sake?"

"Why are you creating a scene here?"

"No, I'm not."

"Why are you loud?"

"Sorry, but why this guy?"

"I'm not getting any younger & I had to marry a guy to satisfy my needs." said Ananya & whispered "Mostly Physical" with a wink on her face.

I whispered back: "Why not me?"

"What?"

"Nothing."

"No, you whispered something."


"I said Wise Decision"

"Anyways, are you comfortable here?"

"Yeah, I was till now but I'm not anymore."

"Why? What Happened?"


I said "Nothing Happened, congratulations Again for your marriage." as I was saying those words my eyes filled up with water & not to make a scene I ran out from there. I went straight up to the hotel, packed my bags & took the next flight to New York.


My brain again hit me with all the memories I had with her as if there is no Ananya in my life anymore, which stopped me from sleeping. So I was traveling the whole day without even sleeping. 


When I knocked on the door of my house, Meg opened the door. I asked: "You're still here."

"Yeah, Is there any problem?"

"Naah, I thought you were in your house right now."

"Oh, I can't stay there alone. My house is haunted."

"I know, I know."

"How was the wedding?"

"I don't know"

"What do you mean by I don't know?"

"I don't know because I didn't stay till the marriage."

"What?"

"I came back after the Rehearsal."

"But why?"

I said: "You'll know when something like this happens to you." & went to my room.


She followed me into my room & said: "Get freshen up, I'll make something for us."

"Are my parents at home?"

"Naah, they are on a vacation now"

"Vacation?"

"Yeah, they went to NYC."

"Strange, I landed in New York, I would have met them'"


I got freshened up, she made some pancakes for us & then we played some games & we both dozed off.

After a few hours, I heard a bell on my door. I asked Meg to open the door.

"Go & open it, please. They are your parents," says Meg.


I said: "Please, Meg. Get the door, I haven't had proper sleep for the past two days."

"Please, Carl. Please do it for this one time, I'll do it next time."

"Fine."


I open the door & to my surprise I see Ananya, standing right in front of my door in a saree, which I think is from the marriage. I felt it was just a dream & I shut the door. The doorbell rang again, I opened it again & she was still there.

I said to myself: "Wake up carl"

"You already did," replied Ananya.

I asked her: "Can you pinch me?" & she punched right on my face.

"Ah, It hurts"

"Was that enough?"

"Are you here for real?"

"No, I'm not Ananya. I'm her look-alike, I just came here to see whether everything is alright."

"Oh, is it? I was wondering how she can be here? Everything is fine here, you can tell the same to her."

"Carl, Are you high?"

"No, why did you ask?"

"I'm Ananya. I'm standing right in front of you."

"Now I'm 100% sure that this is a dream."

"No, it's not. If you keep pretending that it still is, I'll kick your balls so hard, I don't care even if we don't have kids"

"What did you just say? We?"

"Yeah, I love you, Idiot."

"Woah, this dream is so nice, I wish it was true."

"I wish I could kick you in the balls as I said, but I can't do it. I love you, I can't hurt you anymore."


"This is so not real."

"How do you want me to prove this to you?"

"It's up to you."

"Do I look like a fool to you?"

"Clearly, not."

"Why will I travel back, If I have to marry a guy tonight?."

"See, that's a valid point."

"Why are you so dumb?"

"No, I'm not."

Ananya said: "I know what to do." & she came In & kissed me & then she gave me a warm hug.


Before continuing to the next point, I don't know whether you have observed, she is 6 Inches shorter than me, which makes her 5'6".

"So what? Let's get back into the story" said Margaret.


She was resting her face on my chest & was holding me so tight as if there was no tomorrow. I don't know what Meg mixed in those pancakes, I'm having a great time here.

I asked her: "Is this happening for real?"

"What do you think?" replied Ananya.

I said: "This can't be happening." 

"What else do you want me to do? Punch your face again?"

"No, now I believe."

"I hate you, Carl."

"I hate you too."


"This feels excellent, the whole hugging thing," said Ananya.

I asked: "What about the age difference?"

"Why does it even matter? Do you have any problems with it?"

"No, but what about the people?"

"Fuck them. I love you, not them."

"Wow, last time I wasn't so into it. Can you kiss me again?"

Ananya says: "Sure. You don't need to ask, you can kiss me whenever you want" & kisses me again. This time we both were so involved that the kissing became smooching & before I went to the next step I stopped it & said: "We should stop this right here, Meg is in the house."

Meg walks out of the room, with a half-waked face.

"Why is it taking you so long? Who was it?" asked Meg.


I replied: "She is standing right in front of you."

"Am I the only one who is seeing her ?" asked Meg rubbing her eyes

"No."

"Hi, Ananya. Why are you here? Today is your Marriage Isn't it?"

"I ran from my marriage," replied Ananya.

"Why?"

"For this guy."

"Carl, are you thinking what I'm thinking?" asked Meg.

I replied: "She says she loves me"

"What did you say for that?" asked Meg.

"I thought It was a joke, but later when she punched me I believed it."

"She punched you?"


"Yeah, because I was being a dork."

"Yeah, you deserved it. Anyways I'm happy for you both."

"Thank You, Meg," said Ananya.

I asked Ananya: "But how did you come back the Next flight after my flight was after a day?"

"I was on the same plane as you were"

"Why didn't you meet me at the airport?"

"I don't know I searched for you all over my compartment & airport but didn't find you."

"I wasn't even sleeping, I would have seen you if you were searching."

"Believe me, I searched the whole First-class & business class Compartments"

"But I was in Economy."

"Anyways, we finally met. That's all I want."

"I love you Ananya, I love you till the moon & back, I love you till aliens take over our planet, I love you till every human on this planet is dead, I love you till I can do time traveling & to be serious I love you till my last breath."

"I love you too till whatever you said, Carl"

"My dream came true."

"All these days I thought I still had feelings for Noah because when I heard about marriage I felt heartbreak but when I saw you at the rehearsal, I realized that I love you, not him"


I waited for a perfect day like that for 2 years. When I knew that Ananya was getting married, all my hope died but when she came back my hope came back to life as Superman does.

#Starship


"Wow, that's a nice story. If you ask me, I would say It's a love story, I don't know why you don't think the same," said Margaret.

I replied: "Story isn't over my friend, this is 50% of it."

"What? I thought that's it."

"I wish it was that simple."

"Tell me what happened next?"

"Before that, let's do a manual check of all systems once."

"But that at least takes a day."

"We still have a lot of years to discuss my life."

"But checks are the most boring things to do in the world"


"Which world? Is this the one which we left hundreds of years ago?"

"I meant the Universe."

"I hope you know the difference between a World & the Universe."

"Well, you should understand my intention."

"Anyways, finish your job & meet me back at the pool."

"Aye Aye Captain."

"Not funny."


I went back to my room to change my clothes for swimming. While changing I got a little dizzy & fell on my bed. I felt like I was stuck to the bed, & slowly I drifted off.

When I woke up, I realized that I had to be at the swimming pool, I got dressed up quickly & ran to the pool. Go was sitting there, wondering when I would be there.

I shouted: "Hey, are you done?"

"Yes, long ago."

"Sorry, I drifted off"

"No, problem."

"How long was I sleeping?"

"25 Earth hours"

"For how long were you here?"

"Same, 25 Earth Hours"

"Why? You would have left when I didn't show up."


"For your story."

"Why are you so interested?"

"I don't know, I like it. I feel like I have seen this happening with my own eyes."

"Anyways, let's grab something to eat first & then we can continue." 


#BackToTheStory

Who knew that my luck was so good that night, we made out 3 times.

"3 times, were you counting?", questioned Margo.

I replied: "Yeah, I might sound like a normal thing for you, but it's not normal to a 20-year guy like me. Anyways, let's get back to the story."

I decided to say goodbye to my best friend, the Root beer float.

I went to the Johnny Rockets to have the last sip of my friend, though it was emotional, painful I had to do it, or else It will be like I was cheating on Ananya.

As I completed my sip, guess who appears there, the same lousy Noah. I tried to ignore him & get out of that place but caught me.

"Hey, come join me?" said Noah.

I replied: "No, thanks. I gotta go."

"Oh, come on. Am I not your friend?"

"Of course,... Not"

"Okay, isn't Ananya your friend?"

"How does it even matter?"

"I know that you love her, which makes her ex-boyfriend, which is me, your friend."

"Whatever?"

"Come on man, what am I asking, your girlfriend, or what?. I'm just asking your sit with me & talk for a while,"

"Okay."

"I heard that she got married?"

"Yeah, Almost."

"Are things fine between you both?"

"Fine."

"Why do you want her to marry someone else?"

"Till her marriage's day, it was like a one-sided thing."

"Okay, I'm listening"

"Then, on the day of her marriage, she realized that she loves me & came back to me."

"Sounds unbelievable."

"Anyways, all the best champ. You are gonna regret it,"

"Why will I?"

"You know nothing about her, dude we had our relationship for like 8 years & she did even think twice before dumping me, you're just a newbie now."

"She left you because you cheated."

"Here comes the story again."

"Okay, what do you want?"

"Nothing kid, I just don't want you to be like me."

"Don't worry it's never gonna happen."

"Dude, she is short-tempered & immensely judgy."

"Wait, what are you doing? Are you trying to talk me out of this?"

"Yeah, kinda, But think about it."

"I'm not going to listen to you anymore."

"Dude, believe me. In all those 8 years, she never allowed me to even kiss her " whispers Noah.

"Good for me looks like she saved it for me."

"What? She kissed you?"

"Yeah, & we even made out like 3 times that night."

Drunken Noah starts crying & says: "If a girl like Ananya didn't fall for me, who else will. Oh my god, I'm going to die single,"

I replied: "You are a pretty unlucky dude, do you want me to give you some relationship advice."

"This is even worse"

"It's your choice, dude. Anyways, I gotta go."

"Fuck you, masters."

I said: "Is that all you have? Do better next time" & left the place.


The next night, Megan called me & asked whether we can go out for a stroll before sleeping. As a person who has nothing else to do, I agreed.


We started at Kinsley Ave & somehow reached Greene st., which is 1.5 miles Approx. We were so into the "talking" that we didn't mind where we were going & what we were doing. Since we have reached my place & I had to drop her back.

I said: "Let me drop you in my car, hop on."

"Naah, I asked you for a walk, not for a ride."

"Okay, what do you want now? Do you want me to walk you back home?"

"Yeah."

"But I have to walk back alone"

"Well, that's your problem."

"Why did I say yes?"

"Too late to regret your decision"

I was walking Megan back to her place, we were walking by the street where Ananya lives.

My phone started to ring, it was Ananya. She never called me this late, I thought there is something Important she wants to talk about.

I picked it up.

"Hi, Carl," said Ananya, with her sweetest voice.

I said: "Hey, Rabbit"

"Rabbit?" asked Megan.

I replied: "Yeah, that's what I call her these days."

I asked Ananya: "What happened? Why are you calling me this late? Any problem?"


"Naah, I just wanted to talk with you, honey," said Ananya.

"Anything Important."

"Nothing just wanted to talk."

"Can I call you back in a few minutes?"

"Yeah, sure. Why? What are you doing?"

"I came out with Megan for a walk."

"Walk? this late in the night. … See ya."

"See ya."

"Why don't you come to my place? We can talk in person."

"Are you sure? Isn't it too late"

"Yeah, that's fine. Did you forget? We used to do it all the time."

"Yeah, do you want me to bring something?"

"I don't need anything but you can bring whatever you need."

"I don't need anything too."


"Nothing? think again."

"Ah, now I get it."

"Cool, see ya"

"See ya, rabbit"


We almost reached Megan's place, It was 11 at night & I don't know where I can get them. I thought of asking Megan about it, but I was embarrassed.

Megan was walking into her house, I shouted: "Hey, Meg"

"Yep, What?" asked Megan.

"I want your help."

"What's that?"

"Ananya asked me to come over to her place."

"Okay, so what."


"Aren't you listening? She asked me to come over"

"Isn't it the thing which usually happens?"

"It usually happens, but you know we are in a relationship now. I think something special might happen."

"Wow, all the best. Hit hard."

"I need that thing."

"What a French Letter?"

"Thank god, yes."

"I don't think you can't get it somewhere out at this time, I have some, if you don't mind the flavor, you can take them."

"Thanks, you are a savior"

"Good that you are finally thanking me."

"Okay, can you give them as soon as possible?"

"Don't be in a hurry kid, it never helps."


"I don't care, give me my consignment & I'll be on my merry way"

"Looks like you are thrilled about it anyways they are in my bathroom."

"Where in the bathroom?"

"In the tiny little cupboard under the washbasin"

"Okay, How many should I take?"

"It's up to you kid, but I would say you will only last one."

I went to the bathroom & there was a small box in the cupboard. When I opened it, I saw a few pink packets.

I shouted, "Seriously, strawberry."

"I warned you," said Meg.

"Why?... Why? Why Strawberry? Because it's pink?"


"No, we both like strawberries & If it bothers you that much don't take them."

"No, Just asking & I have one more question"

"Throw it up."

"On the packet it says, it works only 97%. Which means there is still a probability of 3% of this not working. Do you think It's worth taking this risk?"

"Why are you like this? If you are going to ask one more question I'll throw you out."

"Why?"

"You're done, now get out."

Before she shut the door on my face I asked: "But still isn't 97% too risky?" & all I remember was the sound "Thud" when she closed the door.


I went to Ananya's place, I rang the bell.

"Come in, Kiddo. The door is not locked," said Ananya.

I turned the doorknob & as she said it was unlocked, I went in & locked the door.

"Come Kiddo, come to me," said Ananya sitting on the floor, leaning to the couch.

I asked her: "What happened to you?"

"Nothing, just celebrating my happiness."

"For what?"

"For you, I never felt this special before. It's because of you, you are the one."

"Why?.... What?..... How?"

"Don't get scared, I was just kidding."

"Why are you doing this?"


"I don't know, It's good to be in a relationship again."

"Is this your now irrational reason to drink."

"You are not understanding, come here. Sit next to me."

"Why?"

"Come here, we'll watch Netflix & chill."


I knew that something could happen tonight, but I didn't expect it too early. Anyways, I sat beside her & we were watching a random horror movie. I was supposed to watch the movie but I don't know why my attention got shifted to her face. That day, that wonderful day she was more beautiful than she was before.

I felt like I could stare at her for my whole life.

"What are you watching here, the screen's there?" asked Ananya.


I replied: "I'm watching you."

"Watching Me, why? Is something wrong with my face?"

"Come on, I'm serious. You're looking beautiful today."

Ananya said: "Seriously?" & the next thing she did was kissing me.

The atmosphere around us became extremely hot, the sexual urge made me take off my T-shirt.

"What are you doing?" shouted Ananya.

"It's getting hot in here & it will help when we do it"

"You're thinking way too far kiddo."

"What? So are we not doing it today?"

"Naah."

"Okay, I'll wear my shirt back."

"What made you think that we will be doing it today?"


I replied: "I misunderstood you. When you said 'you can bring whatever you need' & you also said 'Netflix & chill', I took it as a signal for sex".

"How?"

"Anyways, leave it."

"Are you disappointed?"

"Kind of, but forget about it."

"I'm sorry."

"Please, Don't be sorry. I should be sorry."

"No, I'm sorry."

Holding the French letter in my hand, I said: "It's useless now."

"What is that?" asked Ananya.


"Hmm, it's a French letter."

"A letter? Why is it so small?"

"It is not a letter, it's a thing which has a synonym French letter"

"Just tell me what it is?"

"A condom."

"Looks like someone was prepared."

"Well, I expected the unexpected"

"What are you going to do with it now?"

"Probably throw it away or give it back to Meg"

"Back to Megan?"

"Yeah, It was too late for a pharmacy so I took it from Meg."

"So she knows that we will be having sex today."

"Yes & now I wish I was dead"

"Why would you tell her about this? Why?" asked Ananya.


I replied: "Even if I didn't tell her about this she would have figured it out when she asked her for the condom."

"Why condoms again?"

"I said it, it's my fault. Forgive me."

"You look cute when you are afraid."

"Please don't try to change my mood now."

"Come here, sit next to me. Let's continue the movie."

"Irrespective of what happened, I was still staring at her face."

"If you want to stare at me all the time, we can stop the movie & do all the staring."

"That would be nice."

Five minutes into the staring, we ended up making out again & which turned me on.


I stopped & said: "Can we please not do this, this turns me on?"

"Why?"

"Because making out is like foreplay for sex"

"But it freaks me out," said Ananya.

I asked: "What?"

"The sex, it freaks me out."

"What? This is not a good time to joke."

"No, believe me. I have Genophobia."

"And what the hell is that?"

"The fear of sexual intimacy."

"What? Wha..wha....what?"

"Do that for an hour & you'll be where I am"

"Ah, now everything makes sense."

"What makes sense?"


"A few months back, I had a conversation with Noah. He said that in your eight years of relationship you both never kissed & when he said that I felt special."

"You won't believe this but when I was with him I used to freak out for kisses too, now after I made out with you that went away."

"Oh, I'm the cure for your phobia."

"Yes, you are," said Ananya with a smirk.

"I have a question though."

"Shoot."

"What did you mean by 'you can bring whatever you need' on the call?"

"I only have wine & beer here, since you don't drink alcohol I thought you will bring some soda"

"And how does that phrase mean to convey this?"


"I don't know, I thought we had a connection. I thought you could understand what I was thinking."

"Connection like telekinesis."

"Yeah."

"What are you...8?"

"Okay, let's stop fighting & complete the movie."


These things started to happen more often almost every night. Meg calls me out for a walk & then a call from Ananya makes me go to Ananya's place. At first, I used to think that It might make Meg feel bad but then I realized that if it does then she would have stopped calling me.


Eventually, I started spending more time with Ananya & started ignoring Meg but she never took it in a bad way, she understood why I was ignoring her & didn't even complain.

She tried her best to keep an active connection between us.


Everything was going fine until one day.

I got a call from Ananya, she asked me to come over. I had a bath & was about to change into my clothes from my robe.

I got another call from an unknown number, who claims to be a cop & he says that the car in which my parents were traveling had met with an accident & they are sending someone to pick me up.


After that call, for a minute I heard nothing & my eyes filled with water. I remember someone calling me at that time. I can't hear the sound but I felt my phone vibrating on the bed. I wanted to pick up the call but I was so traumatized that my whole body was paralyzed for a minute.


After a few moments, the doorbell woke up my senses.

I ran to the door & opened it, it was Ananya. After seeing her there I broke into tears.

"What happened Carl ...Why are you crying?" asked Ananya

I replied with the muffled voice: "M...parents…..car…..cops ...car...call"

"What happened? I'm not getting you."

"My parents are dead."

"What? How do you know?"

"Cops called, they are sending someone to take me there."

"Okay, I'll also come with you"

"No, that's fine. I'll call you once everything is sorted"

"Please, let me come with you."

"What will you do there, see me crying?"

"No, I should be with you. I don't want you to be alone there."

"Fine."

"Let's wait for the cop then."


The cop came by & took us to the place, as we were getting closer to the place it was becoming darker.



I reached the spot, they said they have moved the bodies to the hospital for autopsy. I wanted to see the car, but they didn't allow me to go there. Instead, I sat down on the road & was looking at the car. I can still hear their voices call me, scolding me & finally saying goodbye to me. I cried, I cried as if there was no tomorrow, my eyes were filled with water. Looking at me even Ananya got tears in her eyes, she sat next to me consoling.


"Do you know what carl? You look cute when you cry," said Ananya.

I said: "This is not the time Ananya, please let me by myself."

"I'm trying to cheer you up"

"Then this is not the way to do it"

"Anyways, come let's go."

"Where?"

"To the home"

"But we have to go to the hospital to collect my parents"

"I talked with the cops, they said they would send the bodies to the cemetery in the morning. Oops, I meant your parents."

"But I don't want to go home, it will remind me of my parents."

"Then we will go to our place."

"Our place?"

"Our home ... My home."

"Okay, but I don't want to leave right now. Leave me alone for some time."

"Okay, take your own time."


A few days later, an FBI agent called me & said she wanted to meet me. Since I was staying with Ananya for a while, I called her there.

After a while, the bell rang. I opened the door & this pretty lady was standing.

"Olivia Dunham, FBI," said that pretty lady showing her ID.

I said: "Oh … wow"

"What does it mean?"

"Your name reminds me of someone."

"I'm here for Carl?"

"It's me, I'm carl."

"I called you a few minutes back."

"Yeah, come in."

"Your house was locked, can I know why?"


"It reminds me of my parents, for now, I'm staying with my girlfriend."

"Yeah, I can understand. I have been through that stage myself."

"I'm Investigating your parent's case"

"Okay, how can I help you with it?"

"From the past one year, I have been working on a case which is similar to your parent's case."

"Okay, can I know what happened in that case?"

"It is a similar car accident which happened in the same way & on the same date of the year."

"What a fucking coincidence? Doesn't it sound like someone has planned it.."

"Maybe but we are looking into it."


"But how can it be so similar, is there anything which also matches."

"The names of the people are not similar, but they may sound similar to you."

"What … What are their names?"

"Jonathan Black & Elizabeth Greene."

"Are you Joking?"

"I wish I was"

"They are Megan's parents."

"Yes, & I know that Megan Black is your friend."

"Yes, yes. She is my friend."

"Like you both, were your parents also friends?"

"No, but I remember my mother saying that Mrs. Elizabeth was my mother's old friend."

"Oh, this doesn't add any value to the case though. I was casually asking."


"Do you think there is someone who can do this?"

"I don't know much about my father's professional life, he is a closed book about it & he also has few friends so he hardly goes out somewhere. I don't think he had any enemies."

"What about your mom?"

"This is where it gets interesting, my mom is a housewife though, she said she was a witch before she got married to my father, so does Mrs. Elizabeth"

"So do you have any doubts there?"

"I don't know, her witchcraft was also a closed book."

"Did your father know that she is a witch?"

"Of course, he did. My father met her in college, they fell in love & went against everyone's will & got married."

"Just out of curiosity, do you know any of that witchcraft stuff?"

"Naah, I was never interested in that field."


"But you may inherit some powers from her."

"Seriously … Do you believe in them?"

"Yeah."

"An FBI Agent?"

"Yeah, why shouldn't I believe, my mom was also one of those"

"What .. seriously? Oh My God, the world was full of witches."

"Maybe, but I have another question?"

"Does your girlfriend know that your mother is a witch?"

"Was your mother a witch?" said Ananya, who just woke up.

I asked: "Yes, she was. Is it a problem?"

"No, it's not. I thought witches were just fictional," said Ananya.

I said: "I wish that was true, but they are real. By the way, she is Olivia Dunham, from the FBI. She is investigating my parent's case & Olivia is Ananya Hathaway, my girlfriend."

"Can I get you something, tea or coffee?" asked Ananya.


"Thanks, I'm good," said Olivia.

"Is there any progress?"

"After hearing from you, I'm assuming that this case is linked with some witch-stuff"

"What? I don't think so."

"Okay, if you see the first accident which happened on that road was my Parents & my mom was a witch & Elizabeth Greene was a witch & so is your mom."

"That's nothing but a coincidence."

"Okay, tell me one thing. Was that the first time your mother took that road?"

"No, we take the road whenever we visit our farm, so she did take that route before"

"How often did she travel on that road?"


"We go to that farm 2-3 times a week & sometimes only my mom goes."

"So is this the first time they went to the farm without you?"

"Yes."

"After hearing this you won't think it's a coincidence anymore" "Shoot."

"In my parent's case, that was the first time they went without me because I was sick that day & had to stay home but in Megan's case only her father used to go by that route, but that day both of her parents took the route & you know what happened next."

"It's unbelievable."

"And all those three accidents happened on the same spot at the same tree & all three cars were of the color white."


"Are you done?"

"All the three couples have only a single child & the accidents happened when their child turned 20."

"Wha …. Wha … what?"

"Do that for the next 10 mins & you'll be fine"

"Do you think it's a murder?"

"That can be the case too, we are looking into it."

"Do you want to know the actual creepy part?"

"What is it?"

"I have observed that tree after all three accidents, the tree doesn't even have a scratch"

"What tree is it?"

"Cherry."

"Whatever? I want this mass murder to end here & I trust you."


"Thank you, I should be leaving now."

"I should thank you."

"Everything we discussed now is confidential information, so don't let it out."

I said: "Sure, you can trust us on that."




Chapter 4

Death







For Megan -

I left providence, I left the U.S, I left the planet Earth, I left you & I left your heart. ………….………….………….…………. Sorry.

#StarShip


"You said it's a love story but it looks like it's going the other way pal," said Margaret.

I said: "Okay, so you only wanna listen to the romantic part, right."

"Yeah."

"It's easier then, we fought, we broke up & we met a few years later & had a beautiful wedding & now we are here."

"I said romantic, not short"

"There is no such thing in my life."

"Why are you so negative?"

"Usually, I'm an optimist but when it comes to love, only God can save me."

"Anyways, let's continue."


"Before jumping into the past, I would like to skip my parent's death & stuff."

"That would be nice."

"Where was I?"

"You & Olive were talking about the case."

"Let's skip that part, So after that, we all know what happened. The meteorites started hitting the earth & polluting the planet with tons of radiation."

"Yeah, that was 5 years ago right?"

"Yeah, though it's a nature's act. It looked like a planned attack."

"How?"


"Only the major & populated cities like Shanghai, Mumbai, Tokyo, Beijing, Istanbul, NYC, etc. were hit with the meteorites"

"Yeah, but for me, it sounds like a coincidence."

"Yeah, can be."

"Anyway, where were you in your story?"


Though the affected places were quarantined. The other places around the radius like Providence were also affected a bit. We saw mutated cockroaches & stuff. Anyways it never bothered people that much. As time passed, the radiation started to kill everything, started with livestock & then animals & finally the flora & the unexpected nuclear winter kicked in.



Most of the world thought that this would be the end of humanity. Irrespective of these things our daily lives moved on with quite a few changes, well we can appreciate humans, for one thing, after a few days of struggle we adapt to everything. So as expected after a few months, it wasn't even a problem for us.

In the meantime, I moved to Ananya's place, I know that it was a huge leap in the relationship but since we got used to seeing each other often, I had to move in with her.


The US Government started quarantining the houses which had mutated creatures or which had high radiation in the place & provided them new houses in safer cities like Chicago & Kansas City & they called it Project Abode if you remember. 

The first person whom I know getting affected by this was Megan. She was asked to move to Chicago, we went to her place to say goodbye. Believe me, all Megan was doing was crying, 'cause it was her parent's house & that's the only thing which they left for her. 

But I was wondering why can't she stay here in Providence, my house is always empty now. So I dared & asked her & she was happy but still, she was crying.

A few good things happened too, like Megan & I got graduated & Noah was kicked out of NASA.


Everything in my life just felt like a mixture of Genres like Fantasy, Love & Finally Sci-fiction & as if there was not enough sadness in my life after the breakup.

"Broke up, for what?" asked Margaret.


I recited: "One unlucky day, I called Ananya to check whether she was in-home or not, she said she just left the house & she is going to Costco to buy some stuff."

"So what?" asked Margaret.

"I called her because I thought I forgot the key, but after a thorough search in my bag, pants, & wallet, I realized that it was in my wallet. So I found it out & I went to the home & guess what I found?"


"I don't know, don't build suspense, please tell me what happened" verbally pushed, Margaret.

"I saw Noah, he was in his boxers, half-naked"

"And where was she?"

"She came out of our bedroom in her pajamas"

"What do you think happened? Was she cheating on you?"

"That's my perception though."

"Such a Bitch."

"Mind your words lady, the woman you are cursing is my wife now"

"But didn't she cheat on you"


"I don't know. But at that time, all I can think is how can she cheat me?"

"I didn't say a single word & I came out of the house & went to Johnny Rockets for a Root beer float."

"I feel sorry for you."

"It was in the past."

"How did you both meet again & how the marriage happened?"

"Be patient, lady. I have to sleep now. Maybe we will continue the story after I wake up."

"Fine, but Vacuum before you go to sleep. Remember, it's your turn today."

I said, "Consider it done."

"See ya, goodnight."

I woke up in a tube, I was strapped down. All I was doing was shouting as loud as I could. After a few minutes of shouting, Go reached there & unstrapped me.

I shouted: "Why the hell would you do it?"

"Let me explain," said Margaret.

I shouted again: "Why do you wanna kill me?"

"If I didn't put you in that tube, you would have been dead by now & stop shouting."

"Why…..why……..why? Am I sick?"

"I don't know after you went to sleep that day something happened to you. The next day I tried waking you up, you didn't & when I observed you closely I saw that you were bleeding from your ears & nose & then I moved you up here."

"Sorry, do you know what happened to me?"


"The Shaman said that you had some Vitamin deficiencies."

"The what?"

"The Shaman, the tube."

"How long was I inside it?"

"Don't freak out, it's been 5 years."

"What are you kidding with me right now?"

"I would never"

"How many more days to reach Verdure?"

"90 more days."

"Bring me a mirror?"

"No, you should eat something first."

"I said bring me a mirror."

"Listen, if I was you, I would never do it."

"What happened to my face?"

"Nothing much, it looks a bit pale."

"Okay, where are others?"

"Others who?"

"The crew"

"They are in their pods."

"As far as I know, people should be out of pods by now. 

The pods are programmed to stop before 90 days to reach the destination."

"In that case, they will be out any moment now"

"Hope so."

"If you don't mind, can I ask you something?"

"I know, you want to know the rest of the story."

"Yeah"

"Well, let me have something & I'll take a shower, what next? ….. Yeah, telling you the rest of the story."

"Cool, I'll wait for you in the Gym."


As we moved out of the Shaman room, we saw Ananya. I felt as if I got all my energy back & I ran towards her, she saw me & she ran for me too & we hugged each other till I didn't feel my legs.


"Oh god, why do you look like Deadpool?" asked Ananya.

I replied: "Is it that bad? I still have my hair though."

"Naah, I was just kidding. Why did you grow your facial hair this much? You look like a hippie ."

"Well it's a long story but before that I want you to help me with some things."

"Sure, but why do you look a bit aged?"

"I stayed out for some years."

"Why would you do that?"


"My pod broke & there was no way to fix it, & the same thing happened with the lady here, she is Margaret. I know this sounds like the movie Passengers but this is what happened."

"Yeah, I know her. We met."

"Make sense. Can we go now, I want to have a bath."

"Sure but tell me one thing, how long are you out here?"

"I don't know, 10 years."

"Why in the world would you do that?"

"Again?."

"I know, I'm sorry."

"Apology accepted, let's go have a bath."

"So, are you of my age now?"

"Yeah, think so."

"Oh, god. You stink."

"Thanks for the compliment, now let's go have a bath."


The next few days I spent talking with people, telling them about our blackhole adventure & how "Go" saved my life.

Margaret got pissed off now because I left her in suspense, she stopped talking with me & she started behaving strangely with Ananya. So Ananya & I decided that we will tell her the rest of the story.


One fine day. We called her to our room to recite the next part of our lives.

"Well, let's start," said Margaret.

"Cool dear, till how far did he get?" asked Ananya.

"We stopped when this lady cheated on you" replied Margaret.


"Nice, you covered a lot," said Ananya.

I said: "Yeah, I'm good at this."

"Well, you are good on at least this thing," said Ananya.

I asked: "Why….why…...why in the world would you say that?"

"You know what I mean" replied Ananya with a wink.

"Can we concentrate on the story, please?" said Margaret.


There was only less chance that she would ever cheat on me If I believe her, she said she has some phobia, even Noah said the same & which tells she wouldn't have cheated. But why did she lie? If she lied once which can also say that the whole phobia thing is a lie. After having this conversation with Mr. Root Beer Float I headed back home, I saw him leaving when I was right across the street.

I went in & she didn't say a thing. I thought I should be the one who starts.

I asked: "Is it okay? If I move out tomorrow, I'm a bit tired now."

"Moving out? Why? What happened? Where are you going?" asked Ananya.

"Yes, I'm moving out because you know why. I'm going to my home... & you know what happened... Noah happened."

"Noah? What did he do now?"

"Well, you should know. He did it with you."

"Listen to yourself, does it mean anything?" asked Ananya.

"Well, do I mean anything to you?"

"Yes, you are the most important thing in my life."

"Easy to say, hard to do."


"Will you please tell me what happened? Did you guys fight again?"

"I didn't even meet him."

"I did, he was here till now."

"Now the cat comes out."

"What cat & what happened to you? Are you drunk?"

"Yeah, kind of. I had a root beer float. It was good. Maybe you should also try."

"Where did you buy it?"

"Johnny Rockets."

"Cool, let's go there tomorrow."

"Well, I'm not there in your life anymore."

"For god's sake, can you explain, what's your problem?"

"Before that, I want to know what's your problem."


"I washed my White T-shirt with my Pink one & now they both are pink, Maybe I have to buy a new white T-shirt."

"What? I asked you about your problem."

"Yeah, this is my problem."

"Are you kidding with me right now?"

"What do you want to listen to? Give me some context."

"Oof, I'm exhausted."

"Do you want some help?"

"Yeah, will you please stay away from me?"

"Why are you talking to me like this?"


"Okay, listen. I'm not angry because you cheated on me, I'm angry because you lied to me."

"What…"

I interrupted: "Please, don't speak. Your voice makes me wanna die."


The last dialogue which I said was totally out of anger & I didn't mean it, I felt horrible the whole night. I even went to her room to say sorry to her, but when I heard her crying, it hit me so hard, at that point I felt like I should kill myself.


Even though I had a feeling that she is innocent, I was damn angry. The next morning I packed my things & I thought I should leave before she wakes up. Well, she didn't even sleep the whole night. She was waiting for me in the hall. 

I was about to step out of the house, she called me & I stopped near the door, with my one foot outside.


"I know that even if I give you an explanation you wouldn't believe me, but let me tell you one thing, cheating you & killing myself are the same things for me. In these 2 years of relationship, I thought we were at a stage where we believe each other more than ourselves. Now I don't know whether I made a mistake or you did." said Ananya.

I wanted to answer, but I didn't know what to say. Looking at her crying, made me sure she is innocent.



"I have nothing else to say, one step will decide our future, sweety. One step in will keep our relationship safe & a step out will kill it," said Ananya.


My heart said to stay with her, it was a lot of pain to walk out but I did, I did walk out of her house.



#BackToThePresent


I said: "And in the next minute I regretted my decision".

"Good, that you finally believed her," said Margaret.

"Naah, I had regret because It was 5 in the morning, it was fucking cold outside & I was only in my T-shirt & pajamas"

"I don't like you anymore," said Margaret.

I said: "I know, That was the foolish decision I ever took in my life."

"No, honey. Don't blame yourself," said Ananya.

"Do you even know what happened that day?" asked Margaret.

I replied: "No, we never talked about it."

"Can you tell us now, Ananya?" asked Margaret.


"Sure & here it goes. Noah ran into me on the street. He was looking horrible with all of his clothes torn. I took him to our home & asked him to freshen up & then I gave him Carl's clothes. Later I spilled coffee on my pink T-shirt so I changed into my nightdress & then put it in the washing machine. When I took them I realized that I left my white T-shirt in there from my last wash & then I had a conversation with Noah about his situation. He said he got fired & they kicked him out of his house because he had the meteorite samples with him & he said he found a place where he can live & he thanked me & left. After some time Carl came in & we had a fight which he recited & we broke up." said Ananya."Say sorry to her, damn it," said Margaret.

"He already did, long back," said Ananya.

I said: "Yeah, after that I had the best kiss of my life." 

We started making out, by "we" I mean Ananya & myself. 

"Maybe, I should leave," said Margaret.

"Don't forget to close the door," said Ananya.

We made out for a while & then you know what happened.


# a Few Hours Later

Ananya & I started to talk, still resting on the bed.

"She seems fully interested in our story," said Ananya.

I replied: "What's there to suspect? What do you think we will do for ten years?"

"I don't know, did you both sleep together," said Ananya.


I replied: "Technically, yes. I mean in different rooms but at the same time."

"Did you cheat on me?" asked Ananya.

I replied: "Well, I would have tried that instead but I recited our story."

"Hahaha, cheat on me & you'll be dead meat."

"In your dream."

"Think about the fact that we only made out or had sex with the only one person till now"

"Not for me."

"What? Who else is there?"

"Megan"

"Yeah, I know it. What about the making out part?"

"A few girls, when I was in my college"

"So I'm not your first one isn't it?"


"Yeah, but you are my last & you will stay last."

"Don't sugar coat it, What's your count?"

"Around 20 or something."

"I always thought you're a good person, Carl."

"Making out with other girls doesn't make one bad. That's natural."

"Well, I'm jealous."

"I don't know what to say, It was in the past. If it means something to you, I'm sorry."

"That's fine If I didn't have Genophobia, my number would have been greater than yours I guess."

"Good for me that it didn't happen."

"Why?"

"If you didn't have that whatever-phobia you wouldn't have even considered me as a choice."


"I don't think so, I feel that we are made for each other. If we wouldn't have met at the college we would have met somewhere else. We are meant to be together."

"Awww, come here my rabbit. I love you even more now."

"I love you too, sweety."

There was a bit of kissing & a lot of humping.


The next day Margaret met us at breakfast & asked us to recite the further story.

I said: "Well, I don't think. I mean we don't think you should know the rest of the story."

"Why? What happened?" asked Margaret.

"Well it won't reach your expectations, there will be a lot of depressing stuff & no romance at all."

"That's fine, please don't leave it uncompleted. For me."

"We were just kidding, Carl, why don't you start," said Ananya.


I reached home, where Meg lives now. 

I rang the bell, nothing happened & then when I rang the bell again, Megan opened the door. 

"What the hell are you doing here, It's 5?", asked Meg.

I remained silent.

"And why do you have all this luggage with you? Did she kick you out?" asked Meg.

I asked: "Do you have a room for one?"

"Yeah, your bedroom is still free."

"Thanks, will you make a hot coffee for me, please?"

"Yeah, sure, but tell me what happened?"

I said "We broke up" & hugged Meg.

"What happened, carl? Why are you crying? It's just a small fight, you both will get back together."

"It's over, Meg."

"I'm sorry but stop crying, you are making me cry."

"Why what happened to you?"

"We broke up too"

"Whaaaaat?"

"I think he got bored with me."

"No one can get bored with you?"

"I meant sexually, we can't blame him he was fucking the same girl for 5 years."

"Seriously, are you that boring in bed?"

"I don't know"

I apologized: "I'm sorry too."

"Want to have a beer?" asked Megan.

"This early?"

"So what?"

"Nevermind, I'll change & join you."

"Okay, see you in my room."


I took a warm shower & I cried as much as I could & shouted as loud as I could. When I changed & went downstairs to Meg's room she asked why I was shouting.

"I'm trying to get her out of my system."

"Did it work?"

"I'm feeling better now."

"Come here, give me a hug."

"At least you're there for me."

"I'll be there for you, Always & all the time."

"I know."

"Anyways, let's start the drinks."

"Where's my non-alcoholic beer?"

"Oh, Come on. Start drinking the real beer."

"Yeah, I'll try."

"Nice, here take the bottle."

I took a sip & said, "Why is it so bitter?"

"That's how it tastes in the beginning, it'll get sweeter once you get used to it."

I don't know how many of them I had that day, I wasn't aware of what I was doing but when I woke up I saw myself naked in bed with Megan.

"Hey you, yeah you, the person who is reading this. Don't judge me, I was drunk & weak & she was horny so it happened. anyways let's go back to the story."


"Whaaaat... You cheated Ananya?", asked Margaret.

I replied: "Technically it's not cheating, Ananya & I already broke up & it's more like rebound sex"

"That's what men always say," said Margaret

"Can we continue the story?" 



I was all fucked up, I mean figuratively. I had a breakup & then I drank for the first time & then I had sex with my best friend. I woke her up & said: "I'm sorry for all this."

Megan said: "Why? We had an amazing time last night"

"What?"

"I mean you are great in bed. Oh god, Ananya was lucky."

"Yes, yes she was but it never happened."

"What… is this your first time?"

"Y……….Yes."

"Wow, I deflowered you."

"Oh, gosh. You don't use that word for men."

"Doesn't matter, I took your virginity."

"You are an evil person."

"It's quite opposite to what you said when we were doing it."

"Doesn't matter, this will be our last time."

"It's too good like the last one."

From that day, wherever I go, whatever I do. I always ended up thinking about Ananya, it used to become worse whenever I saw her somewhere outside & I slowly became an alcoholic. Being honest, that's how I used to get sleep.


One day I decided that changing the city might help me move on, well indeed it did. I joined SprintSire & that's how I got into this ship.


After a few months, I got to know that SprintSire has tied up with NASA for a project which takes people from our world to the closest habitable planet, Verdure.

It took us 5 years to get a working prototype.


At first, the plan was to send a trained chimp, but since it takes 3 centuries for the journey, including the slingshot at the black hole, they changed the plan to sending people instead of chimps. 

But the actual issue was they wanted people to make it work, no one signed up for the first 3 months, because there was no guarantee that people would make it to the destination safe & sound. 

So we took a stand & made a trial run from Earth to pluto on a small scale, which was 3 billion km, even though it sounds like it's too far, it is tiny when compared to the actual path of 2.83 quadrillion km, don't try to count the ratio, it closer to negligible. After looking at all our efforts we are putting into it & after questioning myself about my existence, I decided that I should sign up. 

When the pluto experiment worked, people started trusting us & started signing up. Though it was only 5 people including me, it was better than nothing.

After a month, we all were sent to the California Army base. That's when I met her again, she was also a part of our team. At first, I freaked out when I saw her, I was so worried that I would fall for her again. 

When she saw me there, she just gave a smile & that was enough to trigger all my dead feelings.

That moment I decided that she is mine & nothing in this world can separate us, it doesn't matter if she has changed & it doesn't matter whether she is married or not. 



Time flew fast, 9 months of training seemed like 9 days to me, & in the meantime, we started talking & it felt like we became good friends but all I want is love.

So one day I decided that I should confess my feelings to her, I called & asked her to meet me in the garden.

She never looked that beautiful to me, all I can think about is kissing her. She had all her hair tied up to a bun & she was in her tee & pajamas but still, she did look beautiful.

I said: "You look beautiful today."

"Is it a joke? 'Cause I know that I'm looking awful in these."

"Naah, I'm not joking."

"You saw me way uglier than this."


"You are never ugly to me."

"Aww….. That's sweet."

"Anyways, I want to talk about an important thing."

"Okay, let me guess. You want to talk about getting back together."

"Yeah, but how do you know?"

"Don't forget, I know you."

I was saying "You made it easier, I love…..."

She interrupted: "Shut the fuck up & kiss me"

After the obvious kissing, she said: "I still love you."

I asked: "Wanna get married?"

"Yeah, but how?"


"I have everything planned, we'll sneak out & go to Malibu get married & spend the whole night there & then we'll come back."

"Woah, what made you think I would say yes."

"Don't forget, I know you, too."

"Hahahahahaha... But what about the training."

"Today was our last day & tomorrow we were supposed to leave but I rescheduled our tickets."

"Nice, you got smarter Carl."

The next day, we sneaked out, rented out a car & did some shopping & we were about to get into our car. A person with a hood approached me & asked where is Ananya, hearing the voice I guessed that's a woman. 

I said, "She is in the car".

"Nice, will you drive or you want me to drive?" asked the Hooded lady.

"Who are you?"

"Okay, you drive, I'll sit in the back."

"Who the hell are you?"

"Your sister-in-law."

I got into the car & asked Ananya: "Who the fuck is she, she claims that she's my sister-in-law."

Ananya looked at that lady & said: "I thought you wouldn't come"

I shouted: "What the fuck is happening?"

"Well honey, if you remember that I promised that I would invite a person if we are getting married."

"Holy cow, Is she, Anne Hathaway?"

"You're so brilliant."

I turned back & said: "Oh My God, Anne. I'm sorry. I'm a big fan of you."

"I know, Ananya & I talked about it," replied Anne.

I asked: "Why are you in a disguise?"

"I don't want unwanted attention, people here in L.A are mad about me."

"Thanks for coming,"

"Why wouldn't I come, it's my sister who is getting married?"

"Oh My God, I don't know what to say. I'm a big fan of you. You are my first & only crush."

"Well, you are so late. I boarded another flight."


"That's fine. At least I got your sister."

"Looks like someone's getting jealous," said Anne.

"Who? No, I'm not jealous," said Ananya.

"Anyways, did we reach Malibu, already, it looks more like L.A," said Anne.

I said: "Sorry, I'll drive."


We got married, Anne was our only guest. 

At night, I got to know that Ananya's phobia-thingy is gone & finally the most anticipated part, the coitus happened.

That was the best night of my life & then as per plan we took a flight to Florida & then what happened we got into the shuttle, blah, blah ……………….. Blah ………… blah & now we are here.

"The getting back together part went fast, did you skip something?" asked Margaret.

I said: "No, I told you everything."

"I still feel something is missing."

"I said I told you everything, when I say it I mean it."

"Do you?"

I shouted on Marget's face: "I said, I told you everything." & left the cabin.

"Why is he so angry all of a sudden?" asked Margaret.

"He skipped a part," said Ananya.

"What is it?"

"It's Megan."

"What happened to Megan?"

"On our way back to Florida, I asked him about Megan."

"What did he say?"


He said she is fine & it's been 5 years since he met her because he moved to Florida & didn't even visit Providence again because he was scared that he would see me again but he said they usually talk over the phone once or twice a week. 

I asked: "Don't you wanna meet her?"

"Yes," replied Carl.

"When?"

"I don't have any plans for such."

"Are you out of your mind? you only have a couple of weeks. After that we'll leave this planet permanently, do you think it's high time you meet her?"

"Yes, but I don't want to meet her."


"Why? Hearing you tells me everything's fine between both of you."

"Because I had slept with her."

"What?"

"Please, don't hate me. It happened 5 years ago, it was more like rebound sex."

"So yesterday wasn't your first time?"

"Nope, but looking at the bright side, I got some experience in that field."

"You cheated on me?"

"Technically, no. We broke up."

"Come on don't be Ross, anyways that doesn't matter."

"I'm not Ross."

"So tell me, what happened that day?"


"I drank 3 beers & blacked out & when I woke up I was in the bed naked with Meg."

"That doesn't mean you had sex, maybe you played strip poker or... Something."

"Seriously, Ananya? It was Meg, not you to play strip poker & all"

"Shut the fuck up, & go meet her."

"Well if I'm going, you are also coming with me."

"Why me?"

"To tell Meg that we got married."

"Okay, fine. I'm coming too."



On the way to Meg's place, we stopped at Johnny Rockets 'cause he wants to have a root beer float. To our surprise, we meet Meg there who is working as a waiter there. Without looking at our faces she came to our table to take the order & asked: "What would you like to have?" looking at her notepad.

I said: "One root beer float & a glass of water, Meg."

She repeated my words: "One root beer float & a glass of... What?" & looked at my face.

"Hi, Ananya. How are you?" asked Megan.

I said: "I'm good, how are you?"

"I'm good too, thanks. Are you alone?"

"A gentleman sitting opposite me if you see."

"What the hell are you doing' here?" asked Carl.

"I'm working here," replied Megan.

"What? You said things are fine, whenever I called you."

"Well, I'll also say it now. Everything's better."

"Why are you working here, this is not your place of work."

"Who said, It's up to me to choose."

"You lied to me, Meg."

"Yes, I did. If I didn't, you would leave whatever you were doing & come back to me."

"Yes, I would for sure."

"See, that's why I didn't tell you."

"I'm still angry with you but I have good news."

"What? You both got back together."

"Not only did we get back together, we got married."

"Oh my God, that's excellent news. When did this happen?"

"Last week, in Malibu."

"Nice, I'm happy for you both. Your order is on me."


I said: "No, thanks but there is also bad news."

"What is it Ananya?"

"Do you know SprintSire's Discover Project?"

"Yeah, something about sending people to the closest habitable planet."

"Yeah, we both signed up for that & we are leaving next week."

"Woah, all the best for you both. I got to go, I need to pick up orders."

 


A few days later we got to know that a meteorite hit Providence killing more than half of the people & Carl thinks Meg is probably dead & he blames himself for that.

"But why?" asked Margaret.

I replied, entering the room: "Because I promised Meg that I'll be there for her, whatever it is. Even if death comes I said we would die together."

"Promises are not fulfilled always, sometimes they break & it's okay," said Margaret.

"It was not a promise, it was a pact."

"Still, don't you think if you wouldn't have signed up for this, you would have kept your word."


"I do"

"Good, there was no choice for you. You signed up for the betterment of people, for the betterment of her. Even if you have broken your pact, it's for a good reason."

"Yes, you are right. I didn't see it that way."

"See you just needed a new perception."

"You are right again."

"Thanks for sharing your life story, I liked it," said Margaret.


We almost reached our destination, we slowed down our ship so that we could land easily on the planet Verdure. It took us 40 hrs to finally get into the planet's orbit, but it was of no use.

When we started our Journey It was a quiet & hospitable planet, looking at the pictures it looked quite similar to our planet earth but now it is just a piece of rock spewing out lava from all the holes it has on its surface. It looked like a black ball with red pimples, we were all puzzled.

We checked all the logs & looked for the changes in the path & destination & we got nothing. We know that it took us 300 years to reach, but that's very less time for a planet to change from a paradise to total hell naturally, except for the concept of asteroid rain.


I felt something was fishy, but I didn't know what. That's when Lieutenant Sunshine came up with a theory taking our black hole incident as a reference.

Since we got a bit closer to the black hole than we anticipated, the time passed was 300 years for us, but the rest of the universe it'll be different.

I asked, "How much?"

"I need to do a quick calculation here," said Sunshine.

"Take all the time you need, Sunshine. & people on the ship get back to what you were doing, till this lady has some answer."


I was half-asleep, I heard a loud thud at my door. I opened it, it was sunshine.

"It is somewhere around 23,480 - 24,797 years," said Sunshine.


I replied: "Holy, cow. It just felt like a few minutes for me."

"Yeah, that's how time works near a black hole," replied Sunshine.

I said: "Let me call everyone to the Assembly area"


People report to the Assembly area, I repeat. People report to the Assembly area. This is not a drill, I repeat. This is not a drill.


Everyone gathered near the assembly area in some 5-10 minutes, I said: "Lieutenant Sunshine has the explanation for our current situation & she will explain it to you all."


"Since we spent some extra time closer to the black hole it may have felt like minutes but it's way greater than that, the time works differently near the black hole. For us, it might look like 300 years but it's 24000 years," said Sunshine.

"And I think we should…….."



GAME PAUSED


Geralt paused the game, I removed the VR GEAR & asked: "Why?"

"I'm closing early today, got a date.," said Geralt.

I replied: "Congrats man, let me save it".

We saved the game and left from there.


While our way back home, we started talking about the game,

"It felt like I was in the game, it was so real. I mean I felt everything physically & mentally," said Ananya.

I asked: "Even the kiss?"

"Yeah, didn't you?" Said Ananya. 

"Yeah, but there were other great things too, which I still remember."


"You mean Coitus?"

"Yeah, No ... What?"

"Looks like you enjoyed the game." 

"Yeah, of course. It's mind-blowing. This is a total rip-off from Ready player one."

"At first I thought Date at a Gaming Store would be strange but now I feel it's a great idea."

"It's good that you liked it and by the way, It's not a Gaming store it's VRENA"

"Why is it named VRENA?"

"VR stands for Virtual reality and AR stands for Augmented Reality and the word ARENA has AR so they replaced it with VR."

"Wow, but do you like the game?"


"I mean look at the graphics, the precision of detail they are so awesome. I mean I can see the skin pores of a person in the game if I look closer.."

"Yeah, I saw that too."

"I think we should do it again"

"Sure, but can we kiss??"

"Yeah, if you want, only if you want."

"Shut up & kiss me"



Chapter 5

The Final one




Dear Megan -

I left for your "future", you stayed with your "past" & death caught you in the "present".



After the kiss, we started talking again. Even though it was just a game, I felt a lot connected to Meg & It feels like I know her.

I said the same with Ananya but responded strangely.

"Looks like someone is in love," said Ananya.

I replied: "Yeah, I'm in love with you."

"Yeah, you sure are in love."

"With you??"

"Of course, with me."

"Are you jealous?"

"Of course, I'm jealous. What the hell were you thinking?"

"I mean the Character Megan was close to me in the game right."

"Yeah, so?"

"I mean whatever I felt about Meg in the game, I think I feel the same even outside."

"What do you mean?"


"I feel sad, for leaving Meg behind."

"That's just a game, Carl."

"I know, but she feels so familiar"

"Do you know what you need right now?"

"I don't know."

"A good sleep."

"Do you think I'll meet Meg outside the game?"

"Yeah, sure. If you don't find her, I'll find her, get her, and I'll help you both to get married."

"Come on, Ananya. I'm not in love with her."

"But looks like you are."

"Whatever, I reached my place. See you."

"Are you free for dinner tonight?"

"Yeah, sure."

"I'll pick you up at 7."

"Cool, see you."

"Looks like you are forgetting something."

I said: "Yeah, I know." and kissed her.

"Should we take this to the bedroom?" asked Ananya.

"Sure, let's go."


#FewMomentsLater

   We were exhausted, I can barely feel my legs. We are lying on the bed looking at the glow in the night stars on my room's sealing.

I heard my phone vibrate, It was a text message from someone. I didn't check it though. 

After some time, I heard it vibrate a few more times, there were three messages from some random number.

"Is it, Megan?" asked Ananya.

"Come on, are you still not over it? I think Megan is just an NPC."

Little did I know, It was from Megan. She tried to contact me, it's still a big question of how she got my contact details.


"Hey, this is Megan. Hope we can meet."

"I'm at Johnny Rocket if you wanna meet me. We can have a root beer float."

"Are you coming or should I leave"


Those were the messages from Meg, even though I'm happy for meeting Meg, I'm worried about Ananya. I'm afraid that she will take it the wrong way, but I dared to tell her.

I said: "Hey rabbit."

"Should we leave for dinner?" said Ananya.

I said: "Yeah, I have something to say about that."

"Go Ahead."

"I can't join you for dinner, I have to meet someone."

"Okay, cool. Who are you meeting?"

"Some old friends from school."

"Oh, from our school."

"No, I mean College."

"Who else was your friend except me in College?"

"Okay, I have to say something. Please, don't freak out."

"What is it?"

"I just got a message from Megan, she says she wants to meet me."

"OH ... MY … GOD!"

THE END


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