Love or… Love? – 1.6

Recap: Varnika does not get to meet Haris due to commitments to Nakul and his family and this upsets her. And finally when she meets Haris, a small incident upsets her more. She becomes confused about where is her life heading?


 

Varnika had just kept her bag on her workstation and went to fill herself a mug of black coffee when her phone rang. It was Haris. In order to keep things normal, she picked up the call and cheerfully greeted him “Hey! Morning!”

“Hi!” his voice sounded upset.

“Is everything all right?” Varnika instantly noticed his low tone and asked.

“I am standing right under your office building. Could you please come downstairs?” Haris directly came to the point.

“Ya ya… Coming right up.” Varnika was bemused on his question and started walking towards the elevator.

“Hi!” she said upon reaching him and was taken by surprise to see him standing with a backpack.

“Are you going somewhere?” she asked.

“Yeah… I am going back to India… So I just dropped by to have one last cup of coffee with you.” Haris said and pointed at a café on the opposite side of the street.

“What…. But you didn’t ever mention that you’ll be leaving today?” Varnika was baffled on his decision.

“Well, I wasn’t aware of it myself. Just that… I started missing home so I thought I’ll go back.” Haris said and directed Varnika to walk beside him and they started walking silently.

Varnika was way disturbed on his decision. During all these days, she had never thought that Haris will ever leave her. She never wanted this current phase to pass away.

‘There is so much I wanted to share with you. I wanted to spend more time with you and suddenly you’re leaving?’ Her heart said and filled her eyes with tears. She started looking in other direction so that Haris doesn’t notice her tears.

Right outside the café Varnika saw parked a big cruiser bike. She wiped her tears and pretended a jokey tone and asked Haris “And what about your dream of traveling around the globe with a hot babe?” Haris looked at her on this question and then looked at the bike. Its silver-toned engine was scintillating under the dim sunshine.

“Grooovyy!” he cheered.

“This is a Harley Davidson Fat Boy you know! An irresistible masterpiece” he exhilarated and Varnika gave him a clueless look as she did not have any idea about the big machines.

“Guess what… I have dropped the idea of going back to India and I’m gonna ride this.” Haris touched on the bike’s handle and Varnika went dumbstruck on his sentence.

“Cum’on sit!” He quickly sat on the bike and took out a key to start ignition and Varnika gawked at him.

“Cum’on sit!” Haris repeated and Varnika stared at him and asked “Is this your bike?”

“No silly… we are stealing it.” He murmured.

“But you took out the keys from your pocket… which means this bike belongs to you?” she again asked him a clearly stupid question.

“Ab tu baithegi ya main akele hi furr ho jaun?” (Would you please hop on else I’ll leave alone) Haris ordered her and she sat behind him and the bike started moving.

“Haris, this is wrong… I have office and a very important meeting in some time. I can’t sneak off like this.” Varnika fretted.

“Well, now you already have…” Haris said and laughed loudly.

“Will you tell me what’s going on? Whose bike is this? Where are you taking me? What the fuck is on your mind?” Varnika was way puzzled on the current scenario and Haris kept laughing at her questions.

“There is only one answer to all your questions…” Haris said after a moment.

“What?” she instantly asked.

“Today you’re on a special riding date with your old buddy H2O and you’re going to enjoy every single second while being with him… Forget about everything else and just breeeeathe!!” he said and raised the speed. In a few minutes, they embarked on a countryside highway and Haris doubled up the bike’s speed.

Varnika kept looking around the scenery. Both the sides of the highway were covered with beautiful marigold, daffodils, tulips and bluebells which looked like an amazing carpet of flowers. Varnika inhaled a deep breath and the smell of the spring awakened her senses completely. The scenic view combined with the thumping sound of the bike – it was a stunningly gorgeous experience for Varnika, something that she had not witnessed in a very long time amidst the hustle-bustle of daily life.

After about fifteen miles, they saw a toll station ahead.

“There must be officers there Haris.” Varnika worriedly said.

“Are you sure you want to head there? They’ll whack us if they find anything suspicious.” she further said.

“I’ll chop them into small pieces if they even look at you.” He said and they reached there. Varnika was palpitating while Haris produced all the required documents including his passport, visa, driving license and motorcycle rental papers. The officer gave them a go ahead.

“It is windy and cool here.” Varnika said and Haris said “Oops! My Bad!” and stopped the bike and took out a leather jacket from his backpack and gave it to Varnika.

“I had got this for you but completely forgot to hand over.” Varnika sensed his fondness in this gesture and said “All this while I was thinking that you are riding aimlessly but this jacket hints that you ‘planned’ this whole thing.” And she wore the jacket.

Haris laughed on her question and asked “Why do girls want a yes or no for their every question…? You see, the real fun lies where certain things are left intrigued and you just unfold them step by step.” he gave her a flirty look and started the bike. They kept on riding on the beautiful highway and after a while, Haris took a turn inside a small street which led them to the farms and he stopped the bike beside a flower farm. It was a quiet area surrounded by tulips everywhere and the breeze had the fresh fragrance of the tulips. The highway could be seen from a distance.

“This is simply beautiful.” Varnika said and let her hair free from the ponytail and looked at Haris and he returned a smile to her.

“Nakul is lazy when it comes to traveling. He would rather prefer driving his air-conditioned car to a mall than to go for nature’s ride.” Varnika divulged but instantly regretted saying this to Haris.

“I am hungry.” She quickly diverted the topic.

“Trust me, I am hungrier than you.” Haris flirtingly said and came in front of Varnika to reveal his naughty desires.

“Ufff… don’t start again Haris.” she said and tilted her head and then shouted “Oh no… My meeting!”

“I’ll have to make this call first and then can we please look for an eatery?” Varnika said and took out her phone from her pocket. She made an apology call to the client and turned back to look at Haris who was waiting for her with a wine bottle and two glasses in his hand.

“No kidding… really!” Varnika was elated.

“There’s more.” he pointed at his backpack and Varnika put her hand in it and found two packs of sandwiches, a pack of Nachos, some chips and cheese dip.

“Amazing” she exhilarated and noticed the name of the same café on the sandwiches packet where Haris wanted to have a cup of coffee with her.

“So you came with full preparation huh?” Varnika excitedly said and he simply upped his shoulders in agreement.

“But there is no place to sit… should we sit down on the soil?” She wondered.

“Who needs a bench or soil when you have a Fat Boy?” he said and sat on the bike against the engine crossing his legs.

“Cum’on!” he indicated Varnika to sit like him and she followed his command.

Sitting on the bike facing each other was a perfect romantic moment. ‘I am special to him.’ Varnika’s heart said and smiled at this beautiful moment.

“Do you trust me?” Haris said while pouring wine in her glass.

“Yes. Why?”

“Are you sure I have not mixed any drug in this wine?” he said and winked. She got baffled on his sentence but then looked into his eyes and said “I trust you.” Wind blew and her front tresses covered her face which she tried to put off by moving her head but failed as wind was continuously blowing. Haris affectionately touched her tresses and put them behind her ears but Varnika said “Hush.. you’re always looking for reasons to touch me… ain’t you?” she covered up her coyness under a mask of annoyance and he withdrew.

“Okay… won’t touch you.” Haris replied and brought his face closer to Varnika’s and blew air from his mouth to move away her tresses. Varnika’s eyes automatically closed on this extremely romantic and sensual ploy and her lungs were filled with excessive air as she had inhaled a very deep breath but forgot to exhale.

“Now happy…. I did the job without touching you.” Haris playfully said.

‘You’re gonna drive me crazy.’ Varnika thought and said “Cheers” and sipped wine and ate; talked and joked with each other. Haris tried to get closer to Varnika but she resisted every time and hated herself for doing so.

“What time do we leave?” Varnika checked her wrist watch. It was quarter past three.

“Let’s leave as there is one more place to go.” Haris said.

“What? Where?” Varnika gawked again.

“Now your favorite place.” Haris replied and Varnika gasped excitedly.


On their way to Hampstead Heath, Varnika sat closer to Haris as she couldn’t control herself from hugging him from behind and Haris kept kissing her hand.

“Wonderful place… As a matter of fact, I have never visited here.” Haris told Varnika and she simply smiled. Varnika showed him the glamorizing view of London from there and sat down on the green grass and Haris started clicking pictures from his phone.

“The sunset looks amazing from here.” Varnika said looking at her wrist watch. It was quarter to five and the twilight time was nearing by.

“Well, I have seen a lot of them. I am not interested in watching a sunset here… let’s explore this area more.” Haris replied and kept his phone back in his jacket’s pocket.

“Alright… let’s walk.” Varnika got up from her place and they started walking.

“London is full of beautiful parks as you already know, but Hampstead Heath is my most favorite.” Varnika told Haris smilingly and plucked a small leaf from a tree that she just passed by. Varnika kept admiring the leaf in her hand and Haris kept walking beside her taking glances at her with his hands in his jacket’s pockets.

“What makes it so special, if I may ask?” Haris asked.

“Nakul had proposed to me here….. right there….” Varnika pointed at a far-off tree on the long trail and looked at Haris.

“I was asking about the leaf… you are paying all your attention to the leaf and ignoring me… so I wanted to know if that leaf is really special.” he quipped and left Varnika speechless.

“So… what’s the story? How did your guy propose to you?”

“Huh… As if you really wanna know.” Varnika taunted.

“Of course I want to know… I do want to learn the good etiquettes you see… I may fall for some girl someday and I want to learn how good guys propose?” Haris gave an impression to Varnika as if he is really interested to know how her love life blossomed.

“It will come to you automatically once you’re in true love… but since you’ve asked…. Nakul and I were in the same college. Through common friends, we started getting along and later we got into same projects and started spending more time with each other.” Varnika said looking at the ground that looked beautiful with the autumn’s yellow, orange and pale pink leaves covering the whole aisle. “And eventually we started liking each other and then one day he asked me to come here. And when I arrived, he told me to stand under that tree and showered the autumn leaves upon me. After that, he presented me a ring and that’s how we got together.” Varnika completed her love story with a coy face.

“Hahaha… Very nice!” Haris sarcastically said.

“And kiss… did a kiss happen?”

“Of course… right after” Varnika replied.

“How?”

“What do you mean by How?”

“How means how? How did you both kiss?”

“Like everyone kisses?”

“So I want to know if you are a good kisser or not? If your guy is happy with you?” Haris stood in front of Varnika and blocked her path.

“I am not giving into your dirty tricks Haris so better you stop playing them.” Varnika said without making an eye contact with him.

“Really… so probably I have to find this out myself.” He said and unflinchingly held Varnika’s hand and swung her in his arms.

“Haris… leave me. I have already told you I can’t tolerate the nicotine smell.” Varnika pulled away her face from Haris.

“I haven’t smoked ever since then. Come closer and check yourself” Haris whispered in her ear and kissed her upper cheek softly. He then looked straight into her eyes and their eyes got locked into each other. Wind blew their hair and Varnika’s front tresses covered her cheek, nose and lips and she started breathing very fast. Haris, who had been holding her tightly in his arms, released his one hand and removed her tresses to look at her face and Varnika felt electrified with his touch on her face. He held her on the chin and looked at her with utmost passion and said “I know you want this” and without wasting another second he placed his lips on hers and they kissed. Right under the tree, where Varnika had started her life’s most beautiful relation with Nakul, she kissed Haris under the same tree.

‘Leave him Nik! This isn’t right. Leave him and rush from here.’ Her mind kept warning her of her wrong-doing.

‘Think about Nakul’s love’ her conscience again warned but today Varnika had surrendered to her once, one-sided love completely. She knew she was wrong, she knew he is just playing around, yet she gave into this desire because it was a wait of so many years that had blossomed into a truth now. It was a yearning that she only imagined in her dreams during school days but had given it up knowing that it is never going to become a reality. And now when it was happening, it was nothing less than magic for her, a magic that she craved from a genie or a magical wand. She put her one arm around his shoulders and then another in his hair. Haris released one hand’s grip from her waist and put it around her neck and kept kissing her passionately. Suddenly, the park got dazzled with the milky white lanterns and Varnika broke the kiss. Haris moved his head again towards her but she tilted her head downwards to ignore. He tried to kiss her neck but she resisted.

“Hey!” Haris slowly removed the tresses on her face but she released herself from his grip. Haris understood her changed state of mind and therefore stopped.

Both were silent.

“You really are one hell of a kisser.” Haris smirked.

“Let’s walk down to the parking.” Varnika said and started walking but her quivering voice confused Haris.

“Varnika… wait!” and Haris held her hand from behind.

“I am not able to understand your current state of mind….. Are you glad or boggled or mad at me?” Haris asked and Varnika looked back at him. He was trying to read an answer in her eyes but she broke the eye contact and hugged him very tightly. Haris gripped her too but there was a difference in their feelings. Varnika wanted to express her feelings that she had concealed from Haris for years but her conscience refrained her from doing it while he simply hugged her to upkeep their moment. They kept themselves locked in each other’s arms for a long time. The loud chirping of home returning birds broke their engrossment and they released each other and finally started walking down.

“Could you drop me till the nearest tube station.” Haris got quite surprised on her question but then he nodded. All through their way to the station, Varnika wanted Haris to clutch her hand in his and keep kissing it in every few seconds like a passionate lover… every time he applied brakes and she fell towards him, it aroused a current in her body. All kind of fancy feelings were flashing in her mind in that moment along with the repercussions of the same.

“So I’ll see you tomorrow, in my hotel room?” Haris stopped the bike outside the station and asked.

“I’ll let you know.” Varnika replied without looking at him. Haris understood she is bewildered right now.

“Sure. I’ll wait for your call.” Haris said and pecked on her forehead and left and Varnika boarded a tube for home.


“Should I tell Anna what have I done today?” Varnika was thinking while climbing stairs to home.

“No no no! She’ll be mad at me.” Varnika decided to hide this from me and rung the doorbell.

“Hey” I opened the door and said.

“Hey sis.” Varnika exhaled a deep breath and took out her coat and laid herself on the couch to relax.

“You look tired out. Seems it was a busy day all through.” I sat beside her and asked.

“Yeah. I just want to keep my eyes closed and remain in silence for some time.” Varnika instantly replied and hid her face behind the cushion.

“Ohkay… so better I buzz off.” I patted her hand and walked towards the bedroom.

“Anna… could you please make a masala tea or coffee for me… please!” Varnika called me from behind and I looked at her face with a smirk. Her forehead had a frown. I understood there is something going on in her mind.

“Sure.” I kept my laptop on the dining table and walked towards kitchen.

“Masala tea I want, not coffee.”…… “And also put ginger.” She said and covered her face behind the cushion again.

“By the way, Nakul had called just a few minutes before you arrived.” I shouted from the kitchen while grating ginger in the boiling tea water but did not hear any answer from Varnika.

I placed her masala tea on the table and rubbed her on the palm to wake her up and told her again “Did you speak to Nakul? He had called me up just a few minutes back saying that he couldn’t reach your phone.” Varnika sat, looked at her cup of tea and reluctantly took out her phone from the handbag.

“My phone was on silent mode.” She replied while reading at her locked screen.

“8 missed calls from Love” I peeked into her phone’s lock screen.

“3 messages from Love” and Varnika touched on the home screen button to unlock the phone.

“Honey, I’ll call you in 10 mins… Just reached home.” Varnika sent a reply to Nakul and kept the phone aside and picked up her tea; took sips staring at the wall in front of her and I kept looking at her.

“You know I pretended to be oblivion all through these days, but now I think you should tell me what’s going on in here?” I pressed her temple a bit hard to emphasize on my words.

“What?” annoyingly Varnika replied.

“What is it? That’s what I am asking?” I asked her calmly.

“There is nothing Anna. Let me just have my tea peacefully… would you?” I paused at her rude reply. She was not the sister I always had. She had changed over a period of time.

“I’ll speak to you when my situations get under control. My mind, my heart, my life….. bloody hell, everything is just so unruly at this point. Give me some time please.”

Her sentence made me dubious about what was on her mind but to keep the situations under control I nodded and patted on her knee.

Throughout the night, Varnika had flashes coming up of her entire day spent with Haris, especially their kiss in the evening. She was not able to forget that kiss. Her imagination had gone mad and wild after this incident and she wanted to have more, all of it actually but her heart was not permitting for it. It kept warning her of the cruel consequences and stopped her from calling up Haris but there was no escape from these thoughts and ultimately, her madness overpowered her loyalty and she indulged into some self-pleasure imagining herself with Haris.

Two persons, though, were silently observing this bewildered behavior of Varnika – I and Nakul. She had not returned Nakul’s call and simply messaged him “I have a head ache. Will talk to you tomorrow please”.



to be continued…

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