Love On Run
Love On Run53 mins 22.3K 53 mins 22.3K
The ‘DJ Kara’, the sexiest woman of all in the room.
“What do you say? That?” Kyle kept an empty check on the table. He knew I don’t need it and nobody else was gonna win.
“You never tire of loosing?” I told my friend over the music blasting in the club.
“The bet’s not for you.” He smirked.
Others sniggered. There were no friends in this place, only money. Me and Kyle we stuck together.
Each of us had brought a girl with us. But none of that mattered before the bet.
It was my birthday bash. I will have to ask the butler, who she was.
She turned down each guy. Two of them dedicated her songs. She was smart, she gave thanks, played the songs and dedicated one back rejecting them. One guy asked her out and she told him that her boyfriend won’t agree. Hearing the word boyfriend, the last guy gave up.
“What a loss.” He said.
I sniggered and went over with a gift box that Kyle had given me. It had a golden chain. I stood by and waited for her to look up from her DJing gear. She smiled a typical professional smile.
“Two birthday songs.” I asked for a dedication.
“Me.” I smirked. She rolled her eyes and laughed taking the mike into her hand.
“Everybodyyy. This is a dedication for the best birthday bash from the birthday boy himself.” Everyone hooted and cheered as she spun the black record.
“Thank you gift.” I said in a low voice, pressing the small box in her palm. She couldn’t hear me and looked at me puzzled. Exactly what I had intended to happen. I motion for her to come forward. She bent forward trying to hear me better and pulled out the chain from the box and put in her palm with a kiss on her cheek.
Her eyes went wide as she froze. I smirked and turned around. Suddenly I was choked by a chain around my throat and I barely saw a golden blur before my eyes. My breath caught. As soon as it came, it went. Hot breath tickled my ear sending a shiver down my back. I closed my eyes.
“Happy Birthday.” She whispered, so close that her lips brushed my ear, and my chest hammered louder than the music.
I opened my eyes and turned around to look at her. She smiled the usual smile and spun another song.
I came back to my place in the centre of the stage and brushed it off.
“For once you got what you deserve.” Kyle rubbed it in bumping shoulder with me. I laughed but her words echoed in my head. Best birthday wish or worst birthday wish? I was never before humiliated but I couldn’t focus on it.
“You should get her thrown out.” The girl I brought tonight cooed.
By 4’o’clock in the morning not many people were left in the club, only a few of them. Everything packed up and we moved to my house. As everybody filled cars and started moving, only I and my partner were left behind to collect her bag from the manager. The DJ strutted in her high heels and took her paycheck and moved away without a single glance at me. Man was she sexy?
Girl besides me tugged at my sleeves. She would pass out any moment.
My cheek still burned where his lips had touched. It was going to be sunrise soon, the weather was better. I took a deep breath and still felt goosebumps. He kept eyeing me rest of the night. Maybe I went too far.
I lightly brushed my cheek with my fingers. His lips were soft.
“He should have kissed me on the lips.” I smiled wickedly.
I started to move towards the taxi stand as I heard footsteps from behind. I hadn’t spared him a single look in the manager’s cabin. Thankfully it was a good club for me to be able to find a taxi at such a time.
“Huh!!” I saw him carrying his unconscious girlfriend to the car as the cab passed from the club.
It’s been a week in the new apartment and I haven’t unpacked yet. I never do. I kept the paycheck on the table and the empty check in the food box. As soon as I reached my room, I crashed on my makeshift bed.
I smiled before sleeping off. It was a nice feeling, being kissed on the cheek. I couldn’t grudge him for a bet. His friend told me that I won the bet so the check was mine.
I woke up very uncomfortable. No matter how I changed position, it was still uncomfortable. I finally got up and stretched. Take some advice and never sleep in clothes you go out in.
Try loosening some tension from my shoulders, I threw my top and shorts to the side. I noticed the gold chain I pocketed. Unconsciously, I touched my cheek again and warm flooded my face.
“Stupid of me.” I shook my head and dragged my feet to the kitchen to make some brunch. I kept the chain in the food box with the blank check. I smiled again. I didn’t point out to the guy that the check wasn’t signed. I just laughed and asked why was he giving it to me?
“Drunk people do stupid things.” I said to myself looking at the gold chain.
Yes. Yes. I was an immoral person. I never returned gifts from my ex-boyfriends, except to those who returned my gifts. Yes. Yes. I don’t falllll in love. Not for me.
I didn’t have any work for two days. Maybe I will open the necessary boxes. After that I filled my stomach with cereals and slept on the sofa again.
Having slept late in the morning, I woke up in the evening. I wasn’t hung over but as I maneuvered my way through the house, many people were. Only a handful of people were left. Others seemed to have cleared away. Haang was in the kitchen.
“You are the last to wake up.” he said handing me a glass of water. He was more my dad than the real one.
I drained the water and asked for more.
“Darling.” A dragged out high pitched voice invaded my ears. I wasn’t in the mood to deal with her.
“Please escort her back ASAP.” Haang smiled and nodded.
I tried to slip away but the girl was fast, she caught on. I had met her in a bar, three days ago. I just don’t remember her name properly.
Linking her arm in mine, she drawled. “I have seen the complete house but I haven’t seen your room yet.”
No one was allowed in my room. Whenever I brought a girl home, it would be one of the guest rooms, more suited.
“It’s getting cleaned right now. Some other time.” She stomped her foot and went away from me saying, “That’s what you said yesterday.”
Did I? I must be running short of excuses, will have to fabricate a new set. At least that got her off my back.
I told Haang to escort her home when she was ready and watch out for my room, so that she doesn’t try to go in. I kicked back in one of the guest rooms and watched the game until dinner. It was only me and Haang at the dinner table.
“How was your birthday party?”
“Great.” I said with not sufficient enthusiasm apparently because he asked, “What happened?”
“Assault.” I said in an undertone thinking of yesterday. I was maybe too drunk to have felt her words to be hot.
After dinner, Haang left, there wasn’t much left in the day.
The biggest festival of the session starts tomorrow and we were the organizers this year. Me and Kyle, we made arrangements. Today was going to be the busiest day. After breakfast at the hotel we headed out. It was huge so we drove around in one of those mini open golf cars. Business boomed at this time of the year. One week festival and people filled in before and stayed late for site seeing.
I looked over the list of completed tasks.
“Bring me a list of incomplete tasks in 20 minutes. And send a bouquet of local flowers to all the VIP guests.”
“You should bring back Cassy.” Kyle said.
“There is only so much I can do if she wall hell bent on quitting.” I defended. But he was right. If Cassy hadn’t quit, my work load would have reduced and there would be no last minute hassles. Her replacement wasn’t as good but I was stuck with him since dad had appointed him.
We were near the stage when my phone buzzed.
“Sir we have a problem.”
I waited. It frustrated me that he didn’t continue. “Which isss…?”I asked through gritted teeth.
“S.P.A.R.K.S is cancelling the contract.”
“The boy band? Why?”
“Some personal issues among the band members. Seventh Day is manageable but no one else is ready to take tomorrow’s spot.”
“We cannot wait for them to resolve their problems. I am heading to the office right now.”
After an hour it was decided to bring in various DJs for tomorrow. I was personally overlooking everything, I didn’t trust the new guy enough.
List was made of the topmost. Each one of them was contacted. The refund of the cancelled contract was going in this task directly. The contracts were mailed. Flights were booked. All of them except one were staying in the hotel. That night I couldn’t relax. If the first day wasn’t a hit, things could go really wrong.
I was enjoying the city when a big offer hit home. One of those big opportunities; first day of the biggest festival. It’s been a while since I had performed big. Instead of making reservations at the hotel, I rented a place in the village. I have wanted to go there for a while, what better time than now.
I packed three suitcases with me. It takes a lot of time. It was late night flight; thankfully I had time to read the contract on the plane. No matter how little sleep I had, I was rejuvenated. It was dawn when I arrived. It felt like this place never slept. I left a message with the lady and gave the cab driver my address.
It was a beautiful cabin with the view of a lake and far away hills. The festival was not far from my place. I had passed it on my way here. I didn’t have time to unpack even the important stuff when the lady returned the call.
“I hope there wasn’t much trouble.”
“None at all. The place is beautiful. I just arrived.”
“I happy it’s to your taste. When can you check in with us?”
“At the earliest.”
She told me to check with her in two hours for my schedule and contract. I had an extra hour before I have to head out so I put on some music and played with the chain. It had become a regular habit. It helped me think. It was simple and beautiful or you could say with time I had grown to like it. I started carrying it around. I put it in my palm and shook it and it made various shapes or wound it around my fingers and moved it like a snake. I played aimlessly thinking of what and whatnot to play. The playlist ended. Before getting up I clicked a picture of the chain and posted it, ‘my fav pastime’.
I pulled out a pair of torn jeans, coupled it with a tank that said, ‘Mine’ with a few spiky accessories and set out for my day.
I was in the elevator when a guy walked in who looked at me funny. But he didn’t say anything rather just stared and I stared right back. I knew him from somewhere but I couldn’t remember where. We got off on the same floor and entered the room opposite each other. He wasn’t a DJ because I recognized all the major ones.
The next day was laid back. I checked in the afternoon to see everything was going smoothly and then joined the celebrations. The DJ idea was great, people were just enjoying and it looked like it would become a rain dance party.
It was when the rain started that we joined. A group of girls welcomed us with open arms. One of them made her way to me, by the time the rain lightened she was grinding on me and I was enjoying every single bit of it.
“This is the end of era for DJ Karaaa. DJ Manny will be taking over and he is open for special requests. I will see you soooon people.”
It was like every bit of me was on high alert. I almost had a whiplash trying to catch a glimpse of Kara before she could leave the stage. I didn’t forget her for the past two months. No matter how much I tried to pass it off as a drunken man’s imagination, it was still the hottest birthday wish ever.
I started moving towards the stage when someone caught my hand. Oh! It was the girl I was dancing with.
“I’ll be right back.” In haste I left for back stage. I looked around but she wasn’t there. I asked one of the security guards.
“Where is the DJ that just left?” they both looked at one another and one of them peeked inside.
She was there, small space between the stage and backstage. She was packing a few things in a bag. I waited. As soon as her bag was done, I snatched it from her hands.
She turned around surprised. She was beautiful. It was not just my imagination. It was hard to find a picture of her on the internet. She looked at me for a moment. Then she took a step towards me. My first reaction was to touch my throat and it made her laugh.
I released my breath I hadn’t realized I was holding.
“Dance.” I asked extending my hand for her to take. But she didn’t, instead she looked at her bag I was holding.
“It will be safe.” I assured her. She smiled and took my hand. She had tiny hands. It fit perfectly as if it would probably dissolve in mine. I led her out. but first I found the manager.
“Take good care of this.” I instructed him handing the bag and taking her with me. It just felt right. I found my way to Kyle. He looked at Kara besides me and laughed. Suddenly I felt her stop. I looked at her and she was pointing a finger at Kyle.
“That guy gave me a blank check.” I looked between them, not understanding, it made me uneasy. Then she started laughing and walked forward leaving me there.
They shook hands.
“I am surprised you remember me being as drunk as you were.” she was saying when I reached the group. The one grinding on me, linked arms with me.
“I wasn’t that drunk. I gave you a blank check, how could I not remember.”
“Unsigned.” She said with a straight face. Kyle didn’t respond but kept looking at her.
“No. That can’t be.” He said doubtful.
She nodded seriously.
“I guess I was drunk then.” He shrugged and she laughed. I liked her laugh too. If I wasn’t wrong, every girl was eyeing her with distaste.
Just then the DJ started up again I was thankful. I didn’t know how to break her away from Kyle. I pulled my arm away from the girl.
Before I could put it around the one in front of me, I was reminded of the chocked throat and I thought better of it. I snaked my hand in hers and she turned around.
It started raining again after a while. My makeup wasn’t waterproof but there wasn’t much that could make me look like a wild goose, if it ran down. That’s what I thought looking in one of the mirrors in an empty dressing room backstage. He asked me to dinner right after but I declined saying, “I am completely drenched and dead tired.”
“I’ll drop you off.” I accepted that. I didn’t want to let him go just yet.
I hadn’t expected to find him here. The golden chain in my room never let me forget him. When he asked me to dance, I took the chance. He had big hands, warm even after he was completely drenched. It was evident that he was enjoying the party. The white shirt clung to his perfectly toned body. I was half a foot shorter than him if I hadn’t been wearing pumps.
It was twilight until we danced. For most of the part it was just the two of us. I even saw his friend. What surprised me that even after looking so puzzled, Dave never asked about the whole blank check thing?
I still felt where his hands were as he swung me around. One of the girls had intentionally bumped into me thrice. Before I could give her a piece of my mind, he pulled me close to him, his hands on the bare skin of my sides and he lifted me off the ground and took me away from the girls. For the rest of the time we slow danced with the tempo. It was not intense, it was comfortable.
I focused on my reflection again as a knock on the door brought me out of my thoughts. I quickly wiped off the leftover makeup. Much couldn’t be done for other things.
“Shall we go?”
“How did you get to change?” I said making a face looking down at my half dried tank top still clinging to my stomach and his completely dried change of clothes.
He laughed a deep throaty laugh and put his hand on my back guiding me, “My hotel is less than 10 min away if you want to change.”
“My place is not far either.” I said climbing into his car.
I gave him directions and we were soon in front of my cabin.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to come in?” he was full on flirting but I wasn’t in the mood specially being looking like this.
I just rolled my eyes making him laugh lightly.
The first ray of sunlight hit me and rolled over to the other side. I remember sleeping with curtains open looking at the crowd and the stage and the lights. I looked over some details for today with Kyle but didn’t go back to enjoying. I was tired and had the best sleep. She had beautiful eyes.
It seems like I had woken up early. Sitting up, I looked out of the glass wall. The tourists must be sleeping but locals had started their set up. This place doesn’t sleep. I wondered if she slept fine. My room was soundproof but her cabin wasn’t. I wondered if she was awake.
She didn’t come to dinner. It’s been so long since I took someone out on a date. Maybe she wasn’t making excuses. After all, she was drenched from head to toe. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I wanted to kiss her so badly yesterday but I didn’t want a choke slam repeat.
It’s been a while but I remember what Haang found out. There wasn’t much news on her. She didn’t operate with a manager. Moved a lot. Did all kinds of shows from small gigs to big ones. Some called her humble some called her player.
I dressed up but couldn’t call her so I made a trip to her cabin, not sure whether or not to wake her up.
On my way I stopped at my favorite dinner, took two coffees and instructed the manager to set up a table isolated on the porch.
My stomach clenched when I ringed her doorbell. It was a different feeling. I could have asked for her no. in the company file, stupid of me. I waited but no one answered. Maybe she already left or maybe she was too deep in sleep. I ringed for the second and last time.
I was almost ready to go back with a fallen face when door beeped and opened. She looked adorable in her cute pjs and messy hair. Her eyes were barely open. I wanted to kiss that pout. Damn. She was so damn kissable.
“What time is it?” she asked me with a little frown on her face. I walked up to the door and leaned in too close to her.
“Early enough for breakfast.” I said looking at her pout. Just a little closer. She didn’t say anything so I looked up. Her eyes were open now but sleep was still evident.
“I am not hungry.” She whispered her hand on my chest. If I was nervous then, my heart was pounding now. Afraid that she would hear it I pulled myself away from her.
“But I am.” I said gulping air down my throat. “Go get ready, I am taking you out.”
“Someone is controlling.” She said in a sing song manner.
I slumped down the wall, as soon as I closed the door. My knees went weak when he was so close to me. I was sure he was going to kiss me, but he didn’t. I wasn’t a shy virgin.
“Just kiss me already idiot.” I said irritated to myself. I grabbed a green summer dress from the top and some flats. I looked in the mirror. No wonder he didn’t kiss me, my hair looks like goose nest and I must have disgusting morning breath.
We stopped at this nice diner. It had a cozy ambience and wasn’t all that crowded. After we gave our order, we were lead to an open area behind the diner. It had a breathtaking view of the hills. On the right, one could see little of the lake too.
I didn’t question seeing the reserved sign at the table we sat at. We talked, just talked. It was relaxing. I didn’t have many friends since I moved around a lot. He asked me about my family, my friends, and my boyfriends. In return I asked him the same. He told me that he often came here, specially this time of the year. He was surprised to know that I was staying past the festival. It was my first time so he promised to show me around.
Time passed so quickly, his phone buzzed on the table. I took my time looking at him. He was smart, successful, funny, genuine and fun. I like him already, more than I should. Maybe it was the festive mood, summer romances are meant to be left behind in the summer.
“Let’s go.” He said getting off the call.
“Where?” I was surprised with the sudden change in mood.
“To the festival.” He said it like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“But it is still early.”
“Miss. It’s going to be afternoon soon.” He said leaning down to my level as I got up.
Really? I looked at my phone. It was.
“Let me go change first.” I said trying to excuse myself. My heart always pounded a little when he was close by. Keeping a safe distance was probably the best option. And as if that wasn’t enough he looked at me from head to toe slowly. If I didn’t blush then it was a miracle. I looked away.
“You look absolutely ready.” He said in a softer tone. He had his eyes on me. A warmth spread through my body.
“Let’s go then.” I said taking a step away from him.
He wound his hand in mine taking me by surprise yet again.
He parked his car at the hotel and we walked to the festival. It was surprisingly in full swing. We passed by a shooting range.
“Let’s try that.” I said excitedly. I have only seen one on television.
“You like that?” he asked amusedly.
I shook my head in a no. He frowned.
“But I want to try it.” I said shrugging. He laughed.
After a guy gave me a rifle with fake shots I was excited to go again, even if not one hit its mark. All the while Dan just kept laughing and mimicking my shot.
I narrowed my eyes at him, “You try it if you are so good at it.”
He smirked with confidence and no doubt, each shot went straight through right after the other. I was so excited by it that I gave him my next round too.
“You try it.” He urged me forward for the last one.
“I am a lousy shooter.” I said making a face and positioning the rifle by my shoulder.
My heart stopped as I felt his warm fingers pressing into my shoulders and his breath tickling my ear.
“Not like this.” He said slowly moving my shoulder to be straighter. I couldn’t concentrate on the large circle when my own head was spinning and all I could feel was his breath on my neck. I didn’t look back and pressed the trigger.
It made it. It MADE it. It wasn’t exact but it was in the circle. My face split into the biggest cheekiest smile.
“Made it.” I said punching the air and hugging him. He laughed and lifted me off my feet.
A man came to us with two cowboy hats. Huh. How typical. “Here it is for the lovely couple.”
Umm. “We are…” but Dan cut me off, “Thank you.”
He dragged me by my hand all day but nothing like that happened again, neither did we speak about the couple thing.
We might be going around for hours because I was feeling hungry and tired. Carrying two soft toys was a big task I would have never guessed.
I have been around a lot, if I say so myself but never had anyone made me feel like a girl. Rather, a girly girl. I was always too independent, too fierce. Guys hated me and liked me for the same. But this guy, he didn’t even know me at all and I had spent my day with him doing nothing but enjoying myself.
“Let’s go eat something.” I said tiredly. He nodded.
“Where do you want to go?”
I looked at him. How are we going to eat? He had an elephant in one hand and I had a bear in one hand. I even had a monkey around my neck. I probably looked funny but with him, I couldn’t catch my breath enough to notice.
“With carrying all this around? Nowhere.” I said gesturing to the large toys we were carrying.
He laughed, “You never congratulated me for winning.”
He unwound his hand from mine. It felt odd to let go of the warmth. It hadn’t even been 24 hours and I had already gotten used to holding hands with this guy. He took the elephant with both his hand and gave it to me bowing down slightly. Even if I knew he was joking, it felt out of words.
I just laughed and replaced the elephant in his hands with the monkey around my neck. He looked at me surprised.
“Fair is fair.” He had won the elephant but given it to me and I had won the monkey so we were equal now.
He smiled and took my hand again. After that I couldn’t stop smiling. We went to his car and the back seat was full of it, toys, balloons, our hats and some things that I had bought.
No matter how much I insisted, I have no idea how we ended up going to her cabin than my room. And to think it took us 30 minutes to reach there.
Right now I am sitting in her kitchen while she wandered around fixing something. We were outside the hotel debating where to go when she asked me to show her the local market. She seemed happy.
For 10 minutes she talked to a grandma making her laugh. She seemed to have brought a few things from her. I wanted to buy but she wouldn’t let me. It felt like she was keeping me at a distance. Then she asked me to take her to her place so she could drop her things of.
Seems like she tricked me quite easily, I didn’t mind at all. I haven’t had so much fun since a long time but then I haven’t been around a girl for more than a day without at least kissing her.
She was becoming an exception every moment.
“Here it goes.” She said sliding me a plate.
“Compliments of the Chef.” She said bowing. I smiled. It’s been like this the whole time, flirting, joking and just enjoying. It felt easy with her.
I popped a piece of vegetable into my mouth without noticing and it felt heaven.
“Hmmm.” I said enjoying the flavor. “What is it?” I asked popping in another piece.
She shrugged. “The old lady had fresh vegetables so I experimented around.”
She was about to say something when her cell started ringing. She frowned looking at the caller.
She looked up at me and smiled so I smiled back but the frown remained in place.
She picked the call but didn’t say a word. I could hear a faint woman’s voice from the other end.
“When?” She looked frustrated just a little bit. She moved away from the table
“How do you know where I live? Wait. Don’t answer that. I was stupid to ask.”
I could hear every word of her even if she tried keeping it on the low. Seemed like some trouble.
“Well! Make yourself at home. Don’t touch anything. There is still food in the fridge. Money in the bottommost drawer.”
“No surprises. How much?” she was rubbing her temple now.
I didn’t want to interfere but…
She turned around and I was surprised. She didn’t seem troubled at all. Instead she was smiling.
“Full yet or more?” she asked settling back down to eat.
After both of us were full, I invited her to the evening live performance.
“You go ahead. I have some things to take care of.”
“Anything I can help with?” I offered remembering her frown.
“It’s nothing major. Some usual things and I have to see the songs for tomorrow.”
I nodded and started to leave. I just didn’t feel like leaving yet.
I turned around at the door.
“Drive safely.” She said waving. Reluctantly I drove away.
I gritted my teeth in frustration as I slid down on the floor. I could never afford to dream. No matter how much I run, how much I hide or how much I earn, there are some things I can’t erase.
I walked to the kitchen picked my phone and called my mother.
“I cannot come down personally this time so send me the account number. And for heaven’s sake stop borrowing money from loan sharks. What do you even have in return?” I was barely holding it together from lashing out on her.
“Same old house.”
“You do know that someday somebody will find out.”
“Hey! Don’t doubt my skills. I am an expert.”
Expert my ass. “What about your husband?”
“He found out.” My mother had no emotions and whatever she did was only related to money. So it was a dangerous thing to have emotions in my life. They are a weakness. That’s all the childhood teaching I have from my parents.
“Just text me the details and the contact information also.” With that I cut the call.
I sat mixing some songs trying to sort myself out as to what to do next. Each time she borrowed money more than the last. If this keeps on going; there will come a day when I won’t be able to help her. There was only so much I could do.
After a while I checked my phone. I went out, bought a burner phone, made the usual calls, talked to the man in-charge, transferred money, made confirmation and made an extra deal as usual not to lend that woman money. After that I drained that number in the flush.
If there were suspicions, I always said that I helped that woman because I owed her a favor I won’t be responsible for her so not to bother me. It was a necessary lie. After all, I was trying hard to live my life out of the shadows, as much as I could.
I sighed as I went to bed. It will be okay to be with Dan I guess. We may never meet after I go back. I couldn’t afford to like him more than I already do.
Still before drifting off to sleep I wondered if I will see him first thing, just like today.
The next morning I woke up I don’t know expecting what. It wasn’t the doorbell that woke me up like yesterday. It was the music I could hear all the way to this place. A little disappointment settled into me. I shouldn’t want him to turn up like yesterday but I did. I tried not to let it get to me.
I looked at the time and set to get ready. A dark denim skirt was my favorite. It was the last day of performance for me so I had to look the best.
With some heavy smoky eyes make up and light blue lenses, it looked like the devil was ready to take charge. The Kara looking back at me from the mirror was striking.
I picked my phone. Messages from Dan. My mouth fell open. I felt like doing a happy dance right there.
‘How did it go yesterday?’
‘Are you still asleep?’
‘You know? It’s going to be mid day.’
‘Looking forward to your performance.’
The guy was stumped. That was the maximum texts I have had in a day all put together. Not being able to hold myself back I pressed ‘Call’.
He picked up in three rings.
“Hey sleepy head.”
It felt like my smile was forever fixed in my face.
“How did you know I was asleep?”
“Did you have lunch?”
“I am just about to head out. I’ll probably grab something on the way.”
For a moment he didn’t say anything. I didn’t mean to push him but I was in a hurry. I would be more relaxed after the performance. I was never nervous before a spin but for some reason today I was. Like my gut had gone down and settled in my stomach.
“Dinner is on me then.”
“Okay.” It was like nothing could put me down today. All my worries can go to hell for now.
“I’ll pick you up right after you are done.” With that the line went dead. I was puzzled. How did he know about my show today? I was sure, I never mentioned it myself.
He was a rich guy with all access pass to the backstage. That much I had seen. Maybe he was friends with the organizer. His car was pretty good too. I have to be careful not to drag him into my problems.
When I started to set up, my stomach was doing all kinds of twists. I might be going crazy. What the hell was I so nervous about? I thought about Dan. Would he be in the crowd or back stage?
“I can never find him in this crowd.” Thinking, my heart sank a little.
I could see her faintly in the dark among the bright lights on stage. When I set out, I could hear the crowd hooting and cheering whenever she played a popular song.
I was back stage. Twice she looked my way but I was sure she couldn’t see me. I was standing in the dark though I could see her clearly from here. What surprised me were her eyes. They were an unnatural shade of blue. When she smiled, it looked like the devil was cooking something.
“All set.” It was Kyle. He knew the plan.
“Okay. Thanks man. I appreciate it.” I was a little nervous. She has been pushing me continuously but if today works out…
By the time I was ready to wind up, my heart had fallen. I had wanted to see him in the crowd but I couldn’t. I could only hope that he was here. My mood had affected my music but the crowd seem to be enjoying.
When I bid final goodbye the crowd screamed for me to stay. It was a good feeling, something that could uplift my mood right now. I had to see him for dinner. If I had my way, I wouldn’t have agreed but maybe I didn’t try much because I wanted to.
I was backstage packing up when a knock on the door made me jump. I must have been too deep in thought.
“This is for you ma’am.” It was a beautiful set of white roses. It had no card in it.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Delivery of white rose bouquet for DJ Kara.”
“Is there a card?”
He shook his head but before I could ask him anything else, he disappeared back into the crowd.
I looked around nervously for anyone suspicious. Having my background, this kind of thing was more scary than heartwarming.
My phone dinged and it was a message from Dan.
“Beautiful roses to a beautiful lady for a beautiful performance.”
My phone dinged again, “I’ll pick you up in an hour.”
My lips formed a smile of its own accord.
I was home and changed in no time since getting ready quickly was a force of habit for me. I didn’t need to do hair or makeup, so I had ample of time left.
I picked up the golden chain from the table wondering if I should return it. I really didn’t want to. It felt odd, not to have anything to play around with, I had gotten so used to it.
I put it in my fist and shook it lightly enjoying the slight tingling it caused inside. My phone buzzed again.
I smiled, “He is earlier than expected.”
I picked my phone but it wasn’t him. It was mom.
“Kiddo, I am sorry I borrowed money from your last manager. I need you saving to pay him back for the last installment.”
My eyes widened. My manager. That loan shark? What should I do with her?
Sometimes I wondered if I should let her be and not help her. She was the reason, I had to keep moving, keep running, never settling, never making friends, never loving, always leaving.
I had the sudden urge to pull out my hair and scream.
I ringed her number. “What did you do now?”
“That’s not a way to greet your mother.” My mother spoke in a fake sad voice.
“I don’t have time for your dramatics. Just spit it out.” she irritated me beyond limits.
Her six figure numbers made me dizzy.
“I don’t have that many saving. That’s not even half of it. what the hell did you do? Don’t you have any sense? On top of that my ex-manager? Are you nuts? And what about the money I transferred yesterday? And why are you asking me for money. Use your old house trick.”
He will make my life hell because he full well knows that it’s not her that’s going to pay up in the end but me.
“How much did you borrow to end up with such a big installment? And what the hell did you do with it?”
“You don’t need to know.” Her voice hardened.
“Like hell I do. And I will find out myself.” I threw my phone across the room seething.
It wasn’t even 5 minutes when my phone buzzed again. The unknown number gave me chills. I didn’t pick so it ringed again.
I took a deep breath and decided to get it over with.
“You ready?” Dan’s voice made me smile but the tension in me wasn’t going to go anytime soon.
“Yes.” I sighed and cut the line.
How could I ever be stupid enough to be involved with anyone? Hadn’t I learned my lesson by now? I could never settle down. At least never with a mother like hers.
I didn’t realize that tears brimmed my eyes until one lone fell over sliding down my face. I was foolish enough to get attached, to think that I could ever escape.
The complete ride to her place, my mind didn’t leave me be. The bet Kyle tried to make with me kept running through my head.
It was the worst date I ever took anyone out on. She was looking absolutely stunning, sitting across from me, as quite as I was. I wondered what was on her mind. And then my mind went back to the bet.
Kyle clearly stated that I would fall for her first and even though I said with confidence that it would be her, I didn’t bet on it. Maybe I was afraid that I will lose this bet but I didn’t let it show. I simply let it go pretending that it wasn’t a worthy bet.
I didn’t exactly tell him, ‘no’ but I was thinking it over. It wasn’t like Kyle to date and it was the same for me but this girl wanted me to try. I didn’t even know her and I was already hooked. But she wasn’t as important to me as my best friend but seemed to be the kind of person who could be.
Maybe she was so quite because Kyle had already made his move. I wondered what he had said. What else could be on her mind, it had to be him.
“What are you thinking?” I prompted hoping for some hint into her mind.
She smiled, “What are you thinking?”
“You first.” I smiled back at her offensive defense.
“I was wondering about what you could be thinking.” Now she was smirking.
I narrowed my eyes but could hold back from laughing.
“Smart.” She shrugged at my comment.
We were over with the dinner and that was about the first real conversation we had had and that was it.
“I have something to say.” I said as she turned around unlocking her door.
“I need to…” she started at the same time but broke off in between.
“You go first.” She smiled.
I shook my head, “Ladies first.”
She laughed amusedly but agreed.
“I… I need to tell you something.” I nodded while my heart fluttered in anticipation as she couldn’t meet my eye.
“I… Umm… I am leaving tomorrow first thing.” She still wasn’t looking at me but at the floor.
I was stunned into silence. Even though I didn’t ask her out, it felt like a rejection.
Even though I merely liked her, my heart clenched. Even though I barely knew her, my gut told me to snatch her and not let go.
I gulped down all my emotions.
“I thought you were staying the month or at least until the end of festival.”
“Something urgent came up.” I could tell her voice was heavy. Maybe she was telling the truth and not actually rejecting me.
I asked what I shouldn’t have. I was losing a bet I never made.
“Will you come back?”
She looked up wide eyes. There were tears in her eyes and her sadness made me happy. It must have been wrong to smile when seemed ready to cry but I couldn’t help it. I knew that she felt, if not exactly, then somewhat of what I felt.
I stepped closer to her. But she stepped back, “I don’t think so.”
She rushed in and shut the door.
I don’t know how long I stood there starring after her but she never came back.
Eventually the music in the background faded away as I just drove around aimlessly. It was light when I was composed, if not calm, enough to go back and face the world.
I had made up my mind. I went to my room to change and see her off. But Kyle was there.
“What are you doing here this early in the morning?”
“Where are you coming back from this early in the morning?”
“What’s with people and their cross questioning?” I said exasperated, in a hurry.
I moved past him to pick the first change of clothes.
“I am here to make another one.” I didn’t understand.
“What??” I still didn’t look up, pulling on a white t-shirt.
“I will give up if you can make her fall for you first but if you fall for her, I am not backing off.” I felty my heart sink.
“What is your problem? You don’t even know her.”
“And you do?” he didn’t stop, “Do you know why she is running away? Do you know how much buried in debts she is? Do you know that she is a con artist helping her mother get a new rich husband every now and then?”
“I… I…” I didn’t know. Was she? But she is a DJ, a famous one at that. Why would she con anybody? Was she conning me? Does she already know who I am? Is that why she was trying play her push and pull game with me.
Anger flared up in me.
“The bet is on.” I didn’t care why Kyle was after her or if he liked her but this is about me.
I was out of the room and out of the hotel before knowing what I was doing or going to do.
I let the wind rush past me as I drove through the morning air to the airport. It cleared my head, cooled my head.
I was at fault too. I didn’t tell her about myself and she didn’t tell me about herself. I remember her distress over the phone. Was she really in debt? Was she a con artist? Was I her target? I wasn’t angry anymore but the questions upset and confused me. I wanted to ask them to her and that is exactly what I would do.
I was at the airport, the first flight back was in an hour, she must be here now.
I took the money and left him. I wondered all the while that I was bad for him so his friend offered me the money in return for me to leave his friend alone. I sat in the plane with a check in my hand and tears in my eyes realizing that I loved the man.
I had the same situation before but I didn’t love the man, nor did I take his mother’s money. I was a bad decision maker to do it wrong this time. But I needed it, needed it to help my mother.
I cried myself to sleep and my heart was heavy when I reached my house.
“There you are.” My ex-manager sat comfortably on the couch, his sumo looking body guards around him.
“I will get you your money tomorrow.”
“What magic will happen tomorrow that cannot happen now?” he was calm seeming playing on his phone.
He was always a businessman and seemed to be getting more unnerving by the years.
I didn’t reply. He waited, finished his game and stood up so suddenly surprising both his henchman and me. I gulped but stayed put.
“Do you have the money now? It’s a big amount kid.” He came forward and ruffled my hair, like her used to. I hated it when he did that.
He was driven and mean but he owns the credits to my fame. He looked behind me toward my suitcase.
“That’s my stuff.”
“I want to know where you are getting the money from.” He looked at me, eye to eye.
I didn’t flinch, “None of your business.”
He looked at me, stared hard but I didn’t look away. He could hit me. He could do so much worse but I didn’t flinch. I was the best change he had of getting his money.
“Fine. Tomorrow. Untill 5 in the evening. After that? Bye Bye momma.”
He sang as he made his way out, followed by the big round men.
The first thing, I cashed in the check and transferred all the money to his account.
Next I bought a rooftop room in a low key neighborhood in a dingy building, with my leftover savings.
I searched and searched for her over a year. There was no sign of her. Not her phone number. No trace of where she lives. No clubs she played in. No managers she worked with. No account no. It is as if she never existed. I relied on Kyle to find her from time to time because he had said he wanted her too. She had no social presence, nothing to trace her. I couldn’t find her.
“Sir?” I simply turned on my other side. She was the first thing I thought of every morning. I regretted thinking wrong of her. If she wanted my money, she could have it all.
“Sir. I have good news.” I wasn’t interested in hearing her.
“It is about the lady you requested the search on.” I could hear a smile in Haang’s voice.
I sat up straight feeling dizzy suddenly but what he had to say was more important.
“I need one question answered first.”
I frowned suspicious. Moments like these were rare with Haang.
“What is so special about her?”
I didn’t expect that. It was the first time anyone has ever asked me that question.
He kicked in parts of my memory is tried not to visit.
“I am not sure. Sometimes I myself think that it was because of the chase or am I obsessed. But its more. She wasn’t just beautiful, she was radiant. You should have seen her that one time she made the old lady from the grocery shop laugh with her. She could just make anyone smile. Never a boring moment with her, you know? I wished she had stayed longer. I don’t know a single thing about her but I wanted to. She seemed worth it. She is the only one that had ever seemed worth it and to think that I don’t know who she is except her name.”
I put my head in my hands feeling hopeless. There are so many things I wanted to say to her when I found her.
“Well.” I looked up at Haang to see him smiling kindly.
I smiled in response and I am sure it looked terrible.
“I don’t want to get your hopes up too high. It’s just a small development.” I still felt hopeful. Any development is better than no development at all.
“We found her mother.”
I walked up to lady that ought to be her mother. She had the familiarity, the looks. It was hard to find her because she had the surname of her current and 6th husband apparently.
I sat across from the lady who stared back at me with composure but dressed poorly for a wife of a businessman. The diamond on her ring was the only evidence of her status. She stood up and shook my hand. What happened next surprised me. I knew about her but it was still unexpected when she grabbed my hand in both of hers and gave me a sly seductive smile.
She was beautiful. Yes. But that wasn’t appealing at all. It was hard to believe this woman was her mother.
I snatched my hand back and motioned for her to sit. She did, never looking away from me once. It was uncomfortable but I needed to meet her.
“I hear you are here to talk to me about my daughter.” She asked, her confidence not wavering once.
“Yes. Do you know where she is?” I asked cautiously masking against my anxiousness.
My stomach flipped as she waited watching me smiling.
“You can look her up on the internet. But you only found me because you couldn’t find her even with all the resources you must be exposed to.”
I frowned at her deduction.
“You don’t think I recognize you? You are the infamous bachelor I read about just yesterday in people’s magazine.”
She looked excited and interested. I had gotten so used to Kara not knowing who I was that it didn’t cross my mind that her mother wouldn’t be oblivious.
I smiled in response to her acknowledgement. I said nothing, anxious to get back on top.
“Do you know where she is? I hear you tend to keep in touch with her now and then.”
I clenched my teeth as her player face slipped on, “Anything you have to say, you can tell me, I will pass on the message when we get in touch.”
I studied her. I had read every single detail about her. If I needed answers out of her, I needed to do my best. I smiled back. It was going to pay me back to look interested in her. I didn’t smile but smirked leaning back looking at her up and down slowly.
It disgusted me. She was married and the mother of the only girl girl for me..
I chose my lie carefully, “I am in debt to her.” Money and money could get a con artist talking.
She looked at me suspiciously, “I will pass on the message.”
My heart sank.
“Now how about you and I take our meeting to a more private setting.” She put her hand over mine, dragging it up slowly.
I flipped mine under hers and she stopped.
“Perhaps after you have passed on my message, we will meet again.” I got up to leave but not without adding, “In a private setting.”
I walked out feeling dirty, creped out, disgusted.
I dialed Haang, “She is a clever con woman alright. I want to know everything. From when she wakes up to when she sleep. I don’t care, keep a watch even when she is sleeping. I want to know who she meets and who she calls.”
“I want to find her, by any means necessary.”
Someone came looking for you.
It wasn’t the usual type of texts that mother sends me. Asking me for money, running for her life, cursing me, marrying again, why don’t I pick up my calls and so on they varied, her texts. But I never replied or called back.
I still had the knife wound in the side of my stomach. The memory of my last encounter with my ex-manager was a flesh memory. It pained from time to time.
My phone vibrated again and I wondered why did I let my mother have my number.
I didn’t bother to look as I pocketed the phone and walked out to the department store.
My day job. I missed music and I missed the energy and I missed him too. But laying low seemed like the only option to get my mother off my back but it didn’t.
I looked up from the computer at the next customer and my smile. I billed his stuff when I landed the shock of my life.
The last months magazine with the face of Dan on the cover.
“Could you hurry please.” The girl sounded impatient b ut I couldn’t peal my eyes off of it.
“Hey.” She banged the desk and I hurriedly billed her.
“Sophie can you take over for a while.” The girl in the back rushed in with a smile and took over.
My heart beat fast I stumbled on the other side of the counter. People watched me watch by in the line. I didn’t notice and walked to the very back of the store and searched through the magazine rack for the familiar face.
I felt as if I could breath again as soon as I saw it.
He smiled brightly, the same look in his eyes, a mixture of mischief and smile in his eyes. I smiled and ruffled through the pages.
All I ever found out about him was his name and his friend’s. He was rich, but enough to be on a magazine? I didn’t know.
The infamous bachelor read, the title. He sat in a chair comfortable looking at the camera.
The first question read:
Q: Are you retreating from your infamous bachelor ways?
I shut the magazine and rolled it in my side. I didn’t want to read it. I was afraid. What did I expect him to hang around on a summer romance? We barely knew each other and then I left. What did I expect him to look for me when I was laying low.
My phone vibrated again and I pulled it out, irritated at the only person who knew this number.
He said he owed you.
If you don’t want it, I’ll get it.
My temper flared. Either she was baiting me to come out and help her or just baiting me in general but I wasn’t going to sit around and let her con someone who came looking for me.
If I ever have hope of going back to my life, I can’t have her ruining my name.
I gritted my teeth.
I texted back, first time in over a year. First time after that accident.
You replied. You replied!!! I need your help. My current husband found out about my con. I need to elope. I need money.
I gritted my teeth. So, this is it. This is the reason she was doing this.
The speed at which she texted back, surprised me at times.
You filthy ungrateful slut. How could you do this to your own mother, your own flesh and blood. It would have been better had I aborted you. My life would have been a lot easier.
You think you are better than me? I am only a con, you are a slut.
I turned off my phone and sighed. Nothing I haven’t heard before. I sighed. I wasn’t even offended. I was used to it.
“We have observed her activities for three days and she doesn’t seem to have done anything out of the usual. She didn’t call her daughter. Though she did seem a little desperate and angry while texting, a couple of times.
She seems to be on the run, her husband found out about her con and she is wanted now.”
He sighed rubbing his temples, agitated.
“Is there something you might suggest?” he inquired the detective.
“Getting her phone records could also be a good idea but I warn you that she might be lying about being in touch with her daughter.”
He nodded, having already guessed that.
The next few days her was flighty and anxious loosing his temper at the smallest of the things.
Kyle teased him about being at his time of the month.
It was the weekend when Haang came up with the news.
“We found her.” He sprung on me randomly as soon as he returned from a week’s holiday.
“What?” my eyes widened and I got up from the breakfast table.
He looked around suspiciously.
I frowned at his behavior.
He slipped a file into my hands. I opened it and had a series of texts to the same number. I looked through them for an hour before coming to conclusions:
“The texts are one sided. They belong to her mother. And we don’t know for sure if this is her existing number.”
He only smiled at my conclusion.
“Finish reading it.” With that he left me alone.
The texts game me clear ideas of what kind of a woman her mother was. It took me back to that one time she was on the phone, sounding distressed. Was it her mother? I couldn’t keep count of the men she had conned. She didn’t care for her daughter. Never once she asked about her well-being. And abusive and offencive of abusive texts excedded the total remaining number.
I turned to the last page and sighed of relief. It was over. I could help feeling grief as I gazed at the plane white wall. What had she gone through to vanish in thin air?
A horrible image crossed my mind. Did someone hurt her? With so many debts, could someone had got to her? Could something have happened?
I shook my head refusing to let the idea take control. I looked down at the page which started with my discussion. She had actually told her that I came by. I doubted she would.
My eyes widened as I looked at the return text.
That is all it said. I pulled out my cell and dialed the number ikmediately.
It ringed and ringed and ringed but no one picked up.
I might never pick up. It was all it said as the phone beeped.
I opened my mouth but nothing came out. So many thing but nothing I could say.
“It’s Dan.” I whispered. Wondering what do I say next.
“Ummm… Call…” the line went dead. I sighed.
What had I expected her to pick up? I was such a fool. She felt so close and yet so far. My heart thudded excitedly.
“Haaang.” I called him a desperate attempt.
“Where does this call trace.”
He shook his head, “Untracable.”
“No. registered to?”
“A departmental store. Couple of miles from here.”
I looked at him intently. He knew what to do.
“I will come along.” He didn’t argue. He knew, not to.
She sighed in her small dingy apartment. The people were nice, except a couple of drunken stalkers now and then. She stared at her phone after she had heard the message. Her heart had leapt and was still beating fast. But she couldn’t get rid of the reality.
She had taken money and left him. He must have found out or there is no reason for him to come and find me. And what did his grave message meant? I will have to run. Move. I felt sad. One more day. One more day to say goodbye.
Soshe got up the next morning with the same heavy heart and walked to work, smiling and waving at the small town people. They waved back. She them by name now. All of them. Small town.
“I am quiting.” The manager looked up surprised. He was one of the few people who didn’t care.
He stared for couple of uncomfortable moments and nodded.
“Be there today. I will have your pay by tomorrow.”
I nodded and opened his office door when his next words gripped me with fear.
“Kara. Why did you choose to be here? You could easily get another gig.”
I gulped and turned around, “What do you mean?”
I tried to feign innocence.
“You would make a good actor but I know who you are.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?” I brushed my hair with my fingers.
“None of my business.”
I nodded and turned to leave. It felt like I was in my own skin again.
“You didn’t amswer my question.” I didn’t turn around and fely my lips quirk in a smirk and felt the old Kara surfacing.
“None of your business.”
I walked out and joined Sophie at the cash counter.
At the end of the say, the manager handed me a pay and all the workers I had become friends with cried and begged for me to stay. Before I knew what was happening, there was a cake and a shout of surprise and a little of vrying from Sophie.
“Keep in touch.” She said sternly as hugged me.
This is how I always felt leaving a place. I was so used to leaving but never had I stayed in a place for this long.
I filled my travelling backpack with necessities and locked the door behind me.
“Where do you think you are going?”
I looked at her backpack slung heavily and she locked the door in a hurry.
“Where do you think you are going?”
As if she was scared, she stood straight and didn’t turn around.
“Long time no see.” I prompted, willing her to turn around. It’s been so long, that I had seen her smile. I stepped towards her.
I seemed childish that I feared her that time. I smiled at the first memory of us, when she choked me. I thought of all the things I wanted to tell her. My voice stuck, feeling insufficient of all the things that I had to say. What could I say that would make a difference to her now that didn’t make a difference then?
I was right behind her, she still hadn’t turned around. Should I...? the thought lingered in my mind and i thought better of it.
I didn’t want her to leave again. I wouldn’t be able to take it this time.
“How did you find me?”
Her voice sounded heavy, very unlike herself. I frowned feeling puzzled at what she was feeling. Was I one sided to think that she liked me as much as i liked her? Was i too over my head? I can’t let her go, even if she has moved on with her life.
“I asked you mother.”
“Liar.” She turned around tears in her eyes. Her beautiful eyes. I single tear rolled down and i tried to wipe it but she hit me.
But she didn’t stop. She kept hitting. Again and again.
“Kara.” I snatched the rolled up magazine from her hand. My eyes landed on the picture of me from my last interview.
“So, you haven’t forgotten all about me, after all.” I sighed inwardly as my face pulled into a hopeful smile.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
I opened my mouth to tell her but she went on,
“Do you know how much danger could you be in, just being around me?”
I smiled. I knew all about it. The long ride left room for nothing but the full story. And Haang told me each bit of what he found out.
She has been through a lot.
“I don’t care.”
“With my family background. You might go bankrupt.”
“Try me.” I smirked in challenge.
“Wait till you meet my mother.” She laughed humourlessly.
I smirked wider, “So you plan on introducing me to your family?”
I saw the first threat of smile as her frowned trying to hide it.
She eventually glared and i couldn’t help laugh.
I did what i had imagined to do so many times.
I slid down on one knee and unlike many times that i imagined it to be a gift or roses, i grabbed her hand.
She looked surprised but to my relief she didn’t pull back.
“Will you be my girlfriend?” i felt my heart beat loudly at my own words as all the other sounds drowned out.
I looked into her eyes, smiling eyes that were tearing it. She smiled and ended up giggling. I waited.
“You don’t even know me.” She nodded with those words.
“I know enough.” I laughed feeling like the happiest man on earth. In that moment i knew that i was going to spent my rest of my life with her.
I picked her up and spun around laughing louder and louder. She laughed with me.
“I don’t know you.” She put her hands on my shoulder firmly making me stop. The look in her eyes, the look of sincereity, seriousness and conviction made me smile.
I let her down slowly as her body slid down to the ground rubbing againt mine. I didn’t let go of my hand around her. I pulled her closer and looked into her eyes that lit with the same spark i saw the first time i saw her.
With no care for the consequences and with the smile of our first memory, i kissed her and i kissed her slowly. My lips tingled and a shiver shredded my spine as her teeth grazed my lips, teasing me.
As soon as the flavour of her spices touched my lips, it was gone. I saw something in her eyes and it looked a lot like those times when she was retreating.
“Now you know me.” I spoke before she could.
And I pulled her in for a deeper taste.
Love on the Run
- Abhilasha Mishra