Heart Under Construction 5
Heart Under Construction 5
Aarav did not leave my hand till we reached his car. I was happy that he stood up for me but I felt guilty as well. I did not want him to lose his childhood friend for me. I gazed at him from time to time, only to see a disturbed and upset Aarav. None of us spoke a word for almost 15 minutes. After some time, I felt that it wasn’t right to come between him and his best friend.
“ I think we should never meet again, Aarav. Alok is right. I don’t deserve you.” He looked at me angrily and stopped the car. His intense stare scared me. But he didn’t say a word and started the car once again. After a few minutes, he parked the car outside an old building.
“ What has gotten into you now? Can’t you see that I’m already angry?” Aarav’s eyes were red with fury but his voice was calm. I was amazed with the way he had controlled his tone.
“ I am sorry. But you shouldn’t have slapped Alok in front of everyone. He must have felt hurt.”
“ I slapped him for a reason. He was the one who started insulting you. Had I known, I would have never asked you to come with me. I am sorry, Ashi. I had no idea he hated you so much. I swear.”
“ It’s okay, Aarav. Don’t blame yourself. One thing is for sure. Now Alok will hate me even more. I don’t want to come between both of you. He is your childhood friend while we are still getting to know each other.”
“ I can’t believe you are taking his side. After what he said to you.” Aarav threw his hands in the air in disgust.
“ I am not taking anyone’s side. I am just showing you his importance in your life. He is like family for you. I am a nobody. And I agree with him. You are a tall, handsome and a successful guy. I am a dark, tall and overambitious woman. We don’t suit each other. You can get millions of fair girls. I think we should stop seeing each other.” I said, with a heavy heart.
“ Do I look fair to you? I don’t think I am fair. I don’t want a fair girl. I only want you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you for the beautiful person that you are. I love you, Ashima Khanna. I always have. I just didn’t have the courage to say that before. I’ve always been crazy about you. When Alok said all those things about you, I couldn’t control myself. I had to show him his place.” Aarav held my hand and pressed it against his. He looked into my eyes and kissed my forehead while I tried to control my tears.
“ You are beautiful, Ashi. Just beautiful. There is nobody like you.” He stared into my eyes again and started playing with my hair.
“ What if, your parents don’t approve of me? I dated someone for 2 years. He dumped me after his parents rejected me. They thought I was too dark for their fair son.”
Aarav stopped playing with my hair and held my hand again. He let out a huge sigh and then spoke.
“ Ashima, my parents know about us. They have no objection with our union. I could have easily asked for your hand through my parents. But I wanted to win your heart first. I am happy that atleast I tried this time. We did not just meet again to depart. I lost you 8 years ago, but I consider myself lucky to have found you again. And I don’t want to lose the chances of our being ‘us’ this time, Ashima. My parents are happy with my choice. I don’t care about the others.”
I smiled on hearing his last statement. It felt nice, for a change, to be appreciated for who you are, without any conditions.
“ I love you too, Aarav. But what about Alok? Please patch up with him.”
“ I will forgive Alok only if he apologizes to you. Being a friend, he needs to respect my decision. He has no right to decide who stays in my life and who doesn’t. He dated 100 girls and then married Priya who was chosen by his parents. I never questioned his decision. So he has no right to question mine as well.”
“ But you did listen to his advice in college. You stayed away from me. Maybe you should listen to him again.” I purposely brought this up as I wanted to clear all my doubts and then decide. He seemed sad on hearing my question and didn’t speak a word for a long time. Finally, I grew impatient.
“ I guess you don’t have an answer. Don’t you? That’s what I thought. You thought that I wasn’t worth your time. Just like Alok. You guys are the same.” I unfastened my seat belt and opened the door of his car. Before I could move out, Aarav grabbed my hand and closed the door.
“ What do you think you are doing, Aarav? Let me go.”
“ I am not letting you go anywhere this time. How can you even think that I thought you weren’t worth my time? It was my decision to stay away from you in college. Not Alok’s. He doesn’t control my life. I was a scrawny teenager who wasn’t able to concentrate on his studies. My grades were slipping. My future was at stake. You were the only thing playing on my mind. I was madly in love with a girl who I thought wasn’t interested in me. I just didn’t know back then how to approach you. I agree I never tried to come closer to you. But you didn’t either. So that makes the two of us.”
“ I love you, Ashima.” He placed my hand on his chest, close to his heart. “ Please don’t cut me from your life because of Alok. God has given us another chance. We may not get it again. If it weren’t for Rahul and Sunaina, we wouldn’t be here together. We can’t change the past but our present is in our hands. Just give us a chance. At least we won’t have regrets that we never tried.”
“ I guess you are right. Both of us were equally responsible. I was shy too. I am sorry for being judgemental about you. I’ve been rejected many times, Aarav. I thought you would do the same.” I placed my head on his chest while he embraced me in his arms.
“ Shut up! I am not a fool to reject you. I will fight with the world for you.” Together, we made a promise of holding onto each other, no matter what happened.