A tenor voice penetrated the perilous silence. As I forced my eyes open, all that I got to see was a big figure outstretched before me. The nimbus around it and the glow dejected from its body made it shine like a diamante statue. After that I blinked a few times, my visions got bit unclouded and I could see someone before me. But he was so big I saw only rear of it and all that I comprehended was a fine white fabric and a dark rough material converging in the middle. I craned to have a better view at him. Wait! Do I know him?
As slowly the graceful human turned slowly and bent to me, I saw him more properly.
Maddy! Or Madhav! Well he was expected. Wasn’t he? But how did he know this where to find us!
“Ava? Can you hear me? Ava??” His hands cupped my face. The burning heat of his skin seared through my cold cheek springing some life.
I want to yell yes to him or at least furiously shake my head up and down. My muscles were jammed or something. I only blinked at him, a slow and heavy blink.
He heaved a long sigh which looked like venting all the pent up anxiety. My throat was so parched and sticky that didn’t allow to even turn the tongue.
Soon I saw a hand with water coming to me. I looked up and found Preeti above me. I was probably lying in her lap. The water tasted like elixir as the stickiness dissolved into it and I at least move my tongue now.
I pulled my hand but it’s nowhere to be moved. I tried again. Damn! Why am I paralysed? I tried this time with all my force determined to the finger and pulled it up.With a fierce force it moved and slammed in a sharp twitch on my face. Wince! I never knew I could slap so hard.
A subtle smile speared Madhav’s face. He held my hand and pulled me along with him onto my feet. I slowly inched as he showed his patience to stand up along with me at my speed. As soon as I got to stand, I found two pair of piercing dark gaze bored at m face. The familiar dizziness returned again. I knew the next was to lose all my senses and crumble down.
“Ava. Here.” Madhav got me some water and also saved me from passing out.
He turned to those onlookers and spoke to them. “¡Hermanos! Espero que adivinar lo que va a pasar con usted y le posesiones si te pillan aquí. No es un buen lugar o el tiempo para estar en la cárcel. Créeme! Sé lo que eres. ” The hold on calmness that Madhav mantained, amazed me. Also the language he spoke so fluently.
But what is he speaking?
Now both of the supposed-to-be-bad guys were in front him. On their feet, they stood at least half a foot taller than both of us girls and a few inches than Madhav too. It looked like they touched the roof with their heads.
Madhav took a long breath in and watched over us from the corner of eyes. They looked at Madhav for while, also inspecting us too. May be they were seeking an answer from us but then again I didn’t know what they were talking about and I’m sure Preeti wasn’t aware of this alien language too.
Then they interchanged a look with each other. “Pero lo que conseguimos dejar estas bellezas?”
Madhav’s hand pushed through his hair, napping at his neck finally. Then he fished through pocket and took out a brown lathered wallet.
Before I could ask for anything, he flashed out a heavy bundle of money and flicked it on their direction. “That’s all I have right now.”
Aw! What is he giving money for? For our cokes? I didn’t know cokes were so expensive in this place.
The guys nodded at him, took the money and flicked their finger through the notes, as if checking how many were there. Duffers! No one count money like that except machine!
Now Madhav’s strong grip was on both of our arms while he ushered us at the door. I perplexed. I wanted to look over my shoulder at those guys again but I was too terrified to do so. What if they come after me again?
As soon as we were out, I realized that I was holding my breath from a long time. At least long enough to be reckoned as dead. My knees weakened and I slipped on the ground, breathing heavily.
Madhav was on my side, relaxing me, his hands rubbing along both my arms, forging me to calm down. After that my huffing relented, he swiftly swung me to his arms without giving me a break to protest.
Our face was so close that I could feel his breath on mine. It was hot like rest of his body. His hand was under my shoulder and behind my knees electrifying me and mine were encircled around his neck and I really had no idea what they did to him. I tried hard but could not dart my eyes away from his face. He never looked away from the path but I could sense that he was aware of my constant stare on him.
As soon as we reached the car, he went to the front seat and settled me in there and moved straight to the driver’s side and waited there till Preeti slipped into the back seat.
He also waited till I put on my seat belts and then revved up the engine. It went to live with a silent hum. The ride was unusually silent though words were in hurricane inside me. I just wanted to cast them out.
Preeti was first among us to break the ominous quietness. “Hey Maddy! Can you pull in to that store? I need to have something from there.”
He didn’t answer and obediently pulled up the car in parking. Our eyes greeted in the front mirror and Preeti looked at me in an indicting manner for a brief moment before stepping out. The sinster silence with lots of awkwardness was back into place.
I mustered some courage. It felt like the most devastated moment in my life. The anger for him was now melting into gratitude and despite all effort my heart was betraying me for him.
He was unusual speechless and stoned in his seat gripping the steering wheel white knuckled.
“I’m sorry.” I finally gathered up and spoke those words. He remained still as if there was a barrier between us that soak up all the words before they could reach him.
“I’m so so sorry.” I was practically begging at him this time. Tears stung into my eyes and that’s all I could say that moment though I wanted to a lot more than that. I wanted to thank him every possible way that will make him feel how grateful I’m to his abrupt appearance to our rescue. I wanted to thank him so much that that will break the solemn mask he was wearing. It was making feel more guiltier with each passing moment.
Also I wanted to tell him how he did so much more than our expectation that it did hurt my ego and it’s my ego that drove all to the danger. I wanted to tell him how stupid I felt of being whole responsible of bringing up the plan. I wanted to tell how wrongfully stubborn I was from the beginning though all I intended is to save me from another emotional wreckage. But I had a lot of confusion fogging my brain now.
He nodded furiously, still looking out at the moving crowd. It looked like he was shivering. “It’s my fault.” He whispered. His words blew over me and tears violently rushed into eyes. Why is he blaming himself for all that I did?
“Hey.” His hands flung to me but interrupted just before they touched my face. The stretched fingers barely making any contact to my skin curled into a tight fist and went back to his lap.
It hurt me more to see him hurt like this. I knew he was blaming himself for all these whereas he was the one who saved us from all these. A sob of guilt rose up in my throat, wanting choke down the breath.
“Please. Please don’t cry.” He was looking down in the most possible deplorable way like he was punishing himself for everything.
“You didn’t do anything. We should not have gone there.”
“And I should know that you were there. But I was a brainless asshole not to do that.” He snapped me with his words in middle leaving me in shock. “If anything had happened, I wouldn’t have forgiven myself for impending this on you.”
His words were so dark, intense and sharp that they pierced and weighed down my heart.
“But that’s not fair, Ava. If you want I can take to any place you lay your finger on map. If you want I can bring anything to you wish. If you want I will turn any impossibility to work. If you want I’m ready run after you for my whole life like these. I’m ready to play all these games but..” He paused. “But playing along with you security...putting your guard down..it’s just not fair, Ava. Just not fair.”
“Next time anything that you do, just inform me or just leave a cue. I just don’t want you to do anything that will drag you into danger and if that’s what not gonna happen, I’ll fuck myself out of your life forever. You get that, Ava.” He mumbled with vice...and pain...and anger...and something that I failed to recognise.
His words shuddered my core. I just wanted to say that no game is needed anymore. He needs not to go through any more tests. But I was too numb to speak anything or too scared.
His eyes were shut tight and his hands went through his hair, ruffling it more. The soft, brown strand now looked dark mop in the light coming through the street lamp. Even in that darkness I could clearly see how resenting he looked.
Suddenly the back door was open and Preeti barged into there.
“Sorry guys, I took much time. Shall we go?” Her words rushed out. “And Maddy! Thanks a lot.”
Our eyes met in the front mirror and she nodded me in askance. I ignored it and dejectedly looked out at the window. I had enough through the day to call it off and just impatiently waiting to soon get back to home. I just wanted to get to my room and curl into bed. I hoped I will get some sleep past the horror that now clouded my mind.
Suddenly my mobile beeped. It was some message. I slowly pulled it out from the bag.
Preeti? Why is she texting sitting just a foot away from me?
I wondered and opened the message. “Did you say him sorry?” I stared at it for a while and texted back the answer.
“Did you say him Thanks?” Again another message arrived.
“Yes.” I answered back.
“Did you kiss him?”
Hell! Why will I? And that also now? I remained silent as it seemed totally meaningless to answer such absurd question.
Again my phone beeped another message. “Did you kiss him? He looks really disheveled And really sexy. And blown out too. ;) ”
It was more than I could take now. She should know that I was in no mood to tolerate any kind of emotional extremity, even if it’s some kind of tingling sensation.
I turned back and started to holler edging all of them to surprise. “No Preeti. I didn’t.I didn’t even touch him and all the time he was admonishing me what to do and not to do. Except that we didn’t do anything. May be you could have waited a while and it might have happened.” By the end of it I was trembling. Face burned with anger and feet went totally numb. I was a merge of fire and ice.
Both of them were dumbfounded. Preeti was staring at me or perhaps still trying to process all that I told to her and Madhav kept driving at the same rate, not ever caring to slow down. After a moment that I realized what I had screamed at her, irritation stirred into shame. It felt like someone had bared me down.
Just then both of them flung themselves to laughter and I was the laughing-stock. I went all red and mortified. It was like I could almost see blood through my skin. The embarrassment doubled up as they shared a high-five. Preeti kept giggling while Madhav’s laugh deduced to a sly smirk. I forced myself to look over the window, ignoring everything else behind.
Madhav dropped us the same place where he had picked us. I hurried out when he held my wrist and slightly pulled me down.
“Your phone.” His fingers draped over my phone. “You left it here.”
I didn’t speak anything and reached out to take when he yank it back to him.
“Call me when you reach home. I’ll be waiting here till you call. At least till I get a text.” And handed me the phone.
I stared at it for seconds. Why is he doing so much me? Is it usual to be so much cared?
I stepped out into the chill of night. Preeti was waiting outside the car. She didn’t speak a word but a mischievous expression never left her face and every time she looked at me from the corner of eyes, I used to sink more into embarrassment.
I rolled into my bed as soon as I got into my room. I had faked of being tired and full of food and ran into room. In the same dress I lumped into bed. Unknowingly and unintentionally a fat drop of tear streamed down the cheek. It was soaked into the pillow and quailed myself into a lifeless ball.