Chapter 2

It is rightly said that when your one sense stops working, a special sense, some unknown quantity, rapidly starts agglomerating, the necessary details required by the brain to perceive and deceive, apparent signals. Something similar happened. She felt it, some deep, chasm, chronic vibe before she could see it. Opening her eyes made her view that “chronic vibe”. That “chronic vibe” was smiling his cocky smile at her as if he’d never seen anyone closing their eyes in public. She didn’t know why she felt the way she did.

“Hell, I haven’t done something so embarrassing to feel this sheepish.”

Turmoil of thoughts kept clogging her mind, one overlapping another, turning more intense than the previous, adding to her problems. Her mind to mouth filters were permanently decayed and she gave a loud evidence of that. She blurted when she was expected to seal her lips.

Staring blankly at his face with no intentions of looking at him, she looked doped, like a girl who had overdosed herself and was altogether on a different planet. At first, he clearly didn’t understand what’s happening, but when he waved at her and she didn’t even have a slightest eye movement, he’d no other option but awaken her to her senses. He moved the chilled glass of some ice blend drink she’s having, closer to her forearm that rested on the table and Zzzzhhhh… a current ran through her veins, awakening her to the present world where a toxic looking thing was sitting in front of her.

“How many joints Ashi?” he asked.

She narrowed her eyes at him before replying, “Not even a single one!”

Still looking at her like she was some magic he mocked, “I do have that kind of effect on females, you see. So, I wouldn’t be amazed if I had it on you.”

“Dream on”, she mumbled under her breath.

“Did I miss something?” he asked still smiling at her making her clumsier than before.

“Not that concerns you”, she said crisply. “Jeez, can you please stop boring your eyes into me and tell me where have I seen you?” she gnashed.

“First of all, stop grinding your teeth at me, second, I won’t stop piercing or “boring” my eyes into you. I’m an honest and loyal admirer of beauty and, Good Lord! You’re beautiful! And third, you’ve seen me in a coffee shop, on some Cadel Highway, making a beautiful girl wait”, he answered with a satisfying smile.

“He is a virtual sadist, Ashi. He is enjoying your agony. He knows you very well and probably knew it even before meeting you. Not everyone is as dumb, incautious and carefree as you. If nothing, he would have at least seen your photograph”, her subconscious subtly warned her.

“I should have known”, she murmured biting her lower lip.

“Is this some kind of syndrome, disease or malfunctioning on your part?” he asked never ceasing to look at her.

“What?” was her prompt response.

“This talking or murmuring under your breath, this lip biting, this squinting, etc”, he questioned.

“Goodness Gracious! Why did I do this? Lip biting? Squinting? Talking to myself? No!!” She thought and again gave a non cracking proof through her famous self whispering.

“Not that any of these is annoying. In fact, I’m kind of liking these stupid things. May be because you’re the most enthralling woman I’ve ever met. But, why aren’t you talking? Have I overawed you?” he enquired with that permanently plastered cocky smile of his.

“Can you please stop this balderdash and once and for all tell me where have I seen you before this? And have I made myself loud and clear enough “before this” “, she said bluntly.

“Okay then. Time for some revelations, some already known but forgotten revelations”, he said.

“Stop taking merry go rounds around the point and come straight to the point. This suspense is killing me”, she said not allowing him to complete.

“I can’t allow some mere ‘point’ to kill you and yes, for your information, curiosity killed the cat”, he said.

For the first time all this while, she directly stared at him intimidating him a little.

He shrugged off the feeling, took a deep breath and answered, “Manchester United Café, year 2012, November, Manchester United v/s Arsenal, you were with your friends…”

“… at the bar, you deliberately spilt a large Grey Goose on me. Doused me, staring at you blankly, your friends roaring with laughter. Rihaan!! Fucking Rihaan Malhotra!!!” She closed her eyes in despair as she completed her sentence.

“Yes”, he said sounding apologetic.

“Bitch! Life is a certified bitch!” she mumbled her exclamation.

“Syndrome strikes again?” he asked trying to lighten the situation.

“Please, don’t even try. You’re a brat, a yob with no intentions or inclinations to improve. You’re a curse to mankind, a living example of inhumanity”, she screamed politely, though her words worked like a dagger slowly sliding under his flesh tearing him apart.

“Will you at least lend me a chance to say something?” he interrupted her.

“No. Not today at least. You know what Rihaan, I was wondering on what grounds should I reject you, especially after that call. Thank you for lending me that one, a strong one rather. Whatever it is, I know for a fact that my Dad won’t coerce me to be with someone who is not even a human”, she hardly managed to complete the sentence in one breath as she spoke. “Cheerio, I hope we never meet again”, she said.

But all this while, he smiled looking at her. This bewildered her.

“What the fuck is making him smile? Whatever it’s, who cares!”

“Yes, you do”, her subconscious sneered. “Get out of this place right away!”

“Stop with that mumbling; you’re giving me an in toto access to your thoughts”, he grinned.

“You know what, “Fuck You”, she said stomping her way out of the café.

He called out to her, “Babe, you know what?” she turned, and he continued with a roguish smile, “You can’t.”

“Well, then I’ll hire someone. You don’t worry”, she shouted back smirking at him pleasantly.

The whole café indulged into an intense form of laughter at her reply.


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