“Three cheers to the future Mr. and Mrs. Dholakia!” The crowd cheered as they raised a toast to wish the happy couple who had just announced their engagement. Nivedita leaned her head against the bar counter and took another sip of her vodka. She was drunk. The situation in front of her was too much for her to take in. She and Rohan had been an “ IT” couple for nearly 5 years in the company. Everyone in the company knew that they were together and they would tie the knot sooner or later. Until he cheated on her with her best friend Sia. Even though they had broken up almost a year ago, it still seemed like yesterday to her. The good and the bad moments kept replaying in her mind. She knew this was bound to happen some day or the other. She knew Rohan and Sia were dating after she broke up with him. She had tried to move on. But what bugged her the most at the moment was, why, of all places, did they decide to announce their engagement at the company’s party in Goa where everyone was supposed to be having a good time.
They knew very well that she would be around. They should have atleast thought once about her feelings. Actually, they never cared. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have betrayed her trust. So why was she even bothering herself? After congratulating the couple, her close friends came to check on her one by one. She was fed up of giving them the same reply again and again. “ I am fine. Just give me some space.” She had another look at Rohan and Sia dancing happily and drank the remaining of her drink. As she turned around, she saw a pair of eyes staring at her from the opposite bar counter. The guy was in his late twenties and wore a casual red shirt and black jeans. Nivedita felt that the guy was good enough to be a supermodel. He was around 6 feet tall and his tight and bright clothes highlighted his perfectly sculpted body and perfectly toned skin. She checked him out from top to bottom, as she had nothing better to do. It was better than staring at the couple like an idiot and sulking.
He let out a smile and made his way towards her. Maybe she checked him out a bit too much, she thought to herself and turned her back against him. He came and sat on the stool next to her.
“ Hi. I guess both of us are getting bored in this boring party. Glad to know that I am not the only one who feels left out.” His voice was soothing and refreshing.
“ I am not bored. I am just drunk.” Nivedita giggled like a child and signaled the bartender to pour her another drink. The guy next to her held her hand and tried to stop her.
“ I think you’ve had enough for the day. You shouldn’t drink too much.” The concern in his eyes seemed genuine.
“ Who are you, anyways, trying to stop me?” She let out a frown while he smiled.
“ I am Aryan. I am your boss’s friend.” Nivedita giggled again.
“ I didn’t know Mr.Das had such cool friends. Aren’t you too young to be his friend?” She came closer towards him and started observing his face in detail, specifically, his sharp features. Aryan smiled yet again. There was something hypnotic about his smile, which showed his perfectly white teeth.
“ Actually, I am his son Veer’s friend. I was here to attend a friend’s wedding. This is my last day here. I had nothing better to do. So I called Veer and he invited me over.” She nodded her head like an idiot, wondering why he was giving her information she never asked for.
“Do you usually talk a lot with strangers? Because I don’t.” Something about his over-friendly behavior was bothering her.
“No, I don’t.” Aryan replied back instantly. “ You seem different, Nivedita.” She stared at him in shock, her mouth wide open. He let out a laugh. “ Don’t worry. I might have overheard some of your friends calling out your name. I am not a stalker.”
“Good. Stalking is a crime, anyways.” She showed him a thumbs - down and turned her stool to have a look at the others dancing their hearts out. She looked at Rohan and Sia enjoying with each other and let out a sigh. What she didn’t realize was that Aryan was analyzing her body language.
He continued looking at her and spoke after a few minutes, clearly understanding why she was looking at the couple who had just got engaged.
“I think you are the most beautiful girl in this entire room. Trust me. I couldn’t stop myself from talking to you.” Nivedita turned towards him, almost on the verge of crying.
“What’s the use of being beautiful, if I can’t get the man I love?” She looked downwards at the floor, avoiding eye contact.
“Maybe, he just wasn’t the right man for you. Maybe you deserve better.” Aryan placed his hand on hers, trying to reassure her.
“Five years. I gave him 5 precious years of my life. All down the drain. I don’t even know where I went wrong. What did I even do? Why did they both cheat on me? And I was such a fool to trust them. When many of my colleagues had warned me.” Nivedita couldn’t control her tears this time. She cried inconsolably and started wiping her tears after a few minutes. “But why am I telling you all this? To a complete stranger, of all people.”
“ You are sharing your inner feelings with me because I am a stranger. With me by your side, you have no fear of being judged. You can be yourself because we practically don’t know each other and I have no importance in your life.” She nodded her head again.
“I guess you are right. Maybe that’s why I am feeling a bit better.” She stood up from her stool. “ Thank you, Mr. Stranger. It was nice talking to you.” She had drank too much of vodka and now it was getting on her nerves. Her head was spinning badly and she found it difficult to walk in her high heels. Somehow, she managed to come out of the party hall. A familiar voice called out behind her.
“Hey, do you want me to come drop you to your room?”
“I am fine, Aryan. I can manage on my own. I am a big girl.” She spoke in her drunken stupor, not realizing someone had spilled water on the floor. Her leg slipped and Aryan’s strong pair of arms supported her before she could fall.
“Be careful, Nivedita.” He looked deeply into her eyes and she looked back into his. At that particular moment, Aryan seemed like an angel to her. A wave of emotions ran through her mind. Without thinking further, she kissed him. He was taken aback by her sudden approach, but he didn’t push her away. A few seconds later, he kissed her back. She had kissed Rohan many times in the past. But Aryan’s kiss felt different. It felt captivating. She was lost in another world. After that, everything was a blur. All she could make out was someone lifted her up and tucked her to sleep.
Nivedita had a severe headache when she woke up the next day. She remembered instances of the previous night as she took a shower. She felt stupid for kissing a stranger and cursed herself. Even though, the guy was sweet and genuine. As she made her way out of the room to have a cup of coffee, her roommate and friend Mansi called out to her.
“Hey, Nivedita. A hot guy left you a note this morning.” She held a small yellow envelope in her hand and started playing with it gleefully. Nivedita turned back and raised her eyebrows.
“ Which guy? What note?”
“Oh! The one who was sitting next to you yesterday and who carried you in his arms safely into our room. He left you a note.” Nivedita snatched the envelope from her hands and quickly opened it. Mansi laughed her heart out.
The note read:
It was a pleasure meeting you yesterday. You were of great company. I truly enjoyed your presence. Don’t feel guilty about our kiss. I kissed you back, remember. So both of us are equally guilty of charge. I am sorry I had to leave without saying bye. I had a flight to catch. By the time you read this note, I might have already reached Bangalore. I don’t know about you, but I would love to meet you again. Maybe try to get to know you.
I know you are heartbroken because of your ex. And I understand if you do not wish to meet again. I shall respect your decision and never bother you. But if you think I deserve a shot, please call me on my personal number- 9860241678.
If you’re wondering, why the note, I’d like you to know in advance that I’m a bit of old-school.
Nivedita smiled as she finished reading the note. She immediately picked up her mobile and dialed Aryan’s number. She decided to follow her heart and see where it takes her, not giving up on love. He was, indeed, worth giving a shot.