It’s beautiful evening today. I am just roaming around the ally of small gift shop in the mall. Yeah valentine’s day is in 2 days and I want best greeting card and gift for…. I blush with the thought of… oh there it is I just got beautiful card with romantic message. Now gift… what I should buy for him? I was searching appropriate gift in the showcase of the shop and I saw one frame which you can keep at your desk and the message on that frame is “the beautiful moment in my life” you can add a picture of your beautiful moment. Also there is space to keep your mobile and pen. Yes, this is the one. I liked it. Yeah… I am sappy and love stuck. Who believes in hearts and flowers. I wish he like this gift. I mean he likes all my gifts. I knew it. I can see smile on his lips which reach to his eyes whenever he opens gifts from me. I am just thinking which photo I should put in that frame. I mean I know there are many happy moments in his life but…I was just lost in my thought when my phone buzzes.
“hello Mansi where are you?”
“I am in gift shop near Starbucks”
“ok will meet you at Starbucks in 10, see you”
“this greeting card and this gift that’s it madam?” shopkeeper asked. I just nodded. ” ok then here is your bill. thanks and happy valentine’s week”
“thanks” smilingly I started walking towards Starbucks which is across the road. Neetu is waiting for me at the entrance. We hugged each other and settled on the table. She shakes her head in disapproval by looking at the bag in my hand.
“Mansi it’s been 5 years now. Every year you send card and gift to Abhi. Why don’t you tell him that you like him? I mean it’s not that he hates you.” Neetu said.
” ughh Neetu I am not his type, besides I don’t want to ruin our little friendship and make myself embarrass in front of everyone” I said in sad tone. “We work in same department, for god’s sake”.
“Mansi why don’t you understand? There is risk in everything. Years later you will regret that you didn’t express your feelings. He might have said yes”.
“I can’t do this and this is an end of discussion” I grabbed my Latte and storm out of Starbucks.
[on the day of valentine]
I was sitting nervously on my desk. I got up early in the morning and jogged near the building where Abhi stays. I put the card and the greeting in letter box and left. Also I reach early in office and kept flowers on his desk. Yeah Neetu is right. It’s been 5 years and I really like him but I am scared. Scared of ruining our friendship. He was in my Management college we did our course together. But still I don’t have courage to tell him. I mean I always wanted to be in his company but… I know it’s not possible. 1. I am not his type and 2. He has girlfriend Mini. Yeah yeah they are not couple yet but they are pretty close and we all are in same department.
My thoughts are interrupted by noise in Abhi’s cabin. Mini was shouting at security and asking who kept flowers poor boy he doesn’t know anything. She was about to throw them in dustbin my heart was in my throat but thankfully Abhi came and took them from her hand. Thank god. Everyone was back to their work. When I was doing my usual things in the office my intercom buzzes and it’s from Abhi he called me in the cabin. I took my notebook and enter in his cabin. Oh my god he looks awesome, drool worthy. I mean how can he look more handsome day by day. I was just admiring my view. He looked up and said “hey Mansi sit, why are you standing?” “oh yes thanks” I sat on the chair as gracefully as I could and we discuss our new client’s brief and I jot down some points for the presentation. After 30 min we are done. I was about to leave he stopped me. “hey Mansi happy valentine’s day. What are your plans today?” well nothing great I will just hang out with my friends” I try to say this in normal voice. I looked at him and he was looking back at me but I don’t know what he was thinking.”
“Abhi is there anything else? Or can I just go?” I said confusingly.
“oh. nothing. You can go. Bye”
Why is he acting weird today? I mean I think he wanted to ask me something but he didn’t. strange. He gave me too much work I have to make the presentation today only coz he has client meeting tomorrow. I busied myself in work. I had my sandwiches on my desk. I heard people specially girls were talking about the secret admirer of Abhi. I smiled when one of them said Abhi said he wanted to meet her. But yeah reality sucks. What will happen when he will come to know it’s me. I sighed and shake my head just to ignore these thoughts. I have to concentrate on my work. I was about to finish my last corrections from the presentation.
“it’s really good.”
I jumped on my sit.”Oh it’s you. God. How long you have been here?”
“not that long but whatever you made is awesome.”
“I am just mailing this to you. Just check and let me know if you want any changes. I have one copy in my pen drive so I can make changes at home.”
“at home? Don’t you have any plans?”
“I… I am” I was about to say something but we are interrupted
“who will take this out dated piece on date?” we both turn. It has to be Mini. I knew it. Well I know she doesn’t like me and Abhi talking. I turned to him and said,” well I have mailed you the presentation and you can let me know if you want any changes. I got to go. Bye.”
“Mansi.. wait I will drop you at home” he said in apologetic tone. “No honey we can’t. We have to reach at the club on time” Mini said. Abhi glared at her.
“that’s fine. My friend is meeting me at mall. I will be fine.”
I grab my things and bag and left the office. I messaged Neetu to meet me at mall. I know she is my only friend with whom I can discuss this. I tried not to cry. I was sitting in food court waiting for her.
“hey lover girl why are you are looking like you have bitter guard juice instead of strawberry milkshake?”
I got up and hugged Neetu tightly and finally started crying.
“hey what happened?” she asked me worriedly.
“nothing… I just don’t know what have I done to deserve this? Why am I alone on this very day.”I was sobbing.
“c’mon don’t think that way. Your prince charming is on his way. May be he is stuck up in the traffic. you know this Mumbai traffic sucks”
We both laughed at this lame joke. We just did some shopping and Neetu dropped me at home. I was about to sleep when my phone buzz. There is message from Abhi. He never messeged me. May be it’s about the presentation. I checked message.
Abhi: hi are you awake?
Me: yes. How can I help you?
Abhi: can I call?
Me: is it something related to presentation? Let me open my laptop.
Abhi: why? I can’t call you otherwise? I mean as friend?
I was confused. What he means by that? I checked the time. It’s 11:30 pm I thought he might be partying but he is at home? Surprising. I was just about to message him but I got call. It’s from Abhi.
My god his voice is sexier over phone.
Me: hi umm how can I help you?
Abhi: (chuckling) Mansi why are you so formal always with me specially. I have observed.
Mansi: really? Oh nothing like that. I just…I just… I mean we never talked on phone so late and …
Abhi: hmm anyways first sorry
Mansi: sorry? For what?
Abhi: about what Mini said. I am sorry she just doesn’t know sometimes what she is talking.
Mansi: oh that’s fine. I mean she must be jealous. And she has all the right to. After all she is your girlfriend.
While saying last line I feel like somebody is stabbing me with sharp knife.
Abhi: what? Girlfriend? Who? Mini? No no she is not my girlfriend. Yeah but she pretended that. But I don’t like her like that.
Mansi: what? Oh.
I said matter-of-factly. But actually I am doing happy dance in my mind.
Abhi: And today she was pissed off because someone gave me flowers before her. You know there is someone who gives me cards and flowers since past 5 years. A secret admirer of mine. I don’t know who is she. But her cards and messages are really touching. ahhh I wish I could meet her. I mean she is so sweet.
Mansi… Mansi are you there?
Me: yes … yes. Oh that’s great.
Abhi: well I guess it’s too late. And yeah I will pick you up from your house tomorrow at 9 am
Me: why? I mean I can come on my own its ok. You don’t need to.
Abhi: no we are going for client meeting. I didn’t got time to go through it. So will do the necessary changes while I was driving and you can join me in client meeting.
Me: client meeting? No no I can’t do that.
Abhi: why not? You can do that. Have you forgot that we were together in our management course? I know your presentation skills I just don’t know why you don’t do presentations here.
Me: no please.
Abhi: shut up. I am going to pick you up at 9 am be ready good night.
Me: good night bye
I said with pout.
Abhi: (laughing) ohk see you tomorrow.
He hanged up. Oh my god what will I do tomorrow. Shit. It’s really too late I can’t call Neetu. I was just thinking worse possibilities about tomorrow. I am very nervous. But then I don’t have any option.
With these weird thoughts I didn’t know when slumber took over me.
I got up with beautiful voice of Ellie Golding. One of my favorite song “love me like you do”
I got up and got ready for office. I am wearing crimson top and black trousers. I check the timing. There is more 5 min. I took my lip gloss and put it on my lips. I looked at myself in mirror. Well I am not that bad. But I guess I am not enough and then back of my mind Mini’s words came. “out dated” yeah I am out dated. I sigh loudly.
My phone buzzes. It’s Abhi. quickly I ran out of the door and there he is with his car, looking gorgeous and hot as always. And then that smile oh god stop drooling Mansi. My subconscious shout at me. He came out and open the door for me. I smile shyly and sit. He came to driver sit and start the engine.
“good morning Mansi”
“uhmm good morning”
“what is more interesting out of the window?”
I turned to him. He was grinning. I smiled back and felt little relax.
“nothing I am just nervous. I mean I have never given the presentation so…”
“c’mon Mansi I know you will do better.”
We discussed about the presentation and finally we reached to the client’s office. We were sitting at the reception. My face is pale. My breathing is heavy. Oh god. I am trying to calm myself. Suddenly I felt a warm hand around my shoulder. Oh no it’s Abhi. He pulled me closure and took my hand in his and making circles on the back of my hand. We were never this close. But somehow I felt relax. I don’t know my body; mind they are feeling like heaven.
“relax I know you will do well” he murmurs in my ear; his warm breath is tickling my ear. I was feeling on the top of the world.
Just then secretary of our client called us for the presentation. We got up and entered the conference room. After formal handshakes, finally I started with our presentation. I looked at Abhi and he was smiling at me reassuringly. his smile gave me a confidence and I started explaining the client.
“whoa somebody was very good there” Abhi said in teasing voice.
“oh shut up. It’s nothing. And thanks it all because of you”
“no no not at all. It’s all your hard work.” He said.
Presentation was really very good client appreciated it.
“well let’s go for lunch”
“oh no no we should go to office.”
“oh shut up Mansi we should celebrate.”
I didn’t say anything. We went to one of my favorite restaurant and had lunch. After lunch we are just walking on the footpath near coast. He is really very good. I mean I remember those days when we were in college. After our presentation we use to party. Those days when I use to be with Abhi most of the time. I guess almost in all projects.
“hey what are you thinking?” Abhi asked.
“nothing… just remember the college days” I said.
“oh yeah. Those days were the best days in our life.” He took my hand and we sat on one of the bench. My hand is still in his. My logical mind is saying it’s not right but my heart… my heart is craving for his touch. We sat in silence. Cool breeze is tickling our faces. And before I know my head is resting on his shoulder.
This looks so right and complete. I don’t for how much time we were sitting there. But I am really enjoying this. I wanted this in my life. But I think this is like sand how much I tried to hold it tight it’s slipping through my fingers.
Abhi nuzzle in my hair and kiss my forehead. Oh god how can I resist this. But finally I came in my senses and I moved from his embrace. He looked at me confusingly.
“I guess we should go’
“why? You are not enjoying this?”
“no.. I mean yes I am enjoying this but we will be late”
“I will take care of it. Come here” he tugged my elbow and pull me close to him. I am again in his embrace. Very close. I can smell his scent. I breath in deep and clasp his hand tightly. I don’t want him to leave me. I don’t know how and when but tears roll down from my eyes. He turned and put his hand on either side of my face and wiped the tears by his thumb.
“why are you crying?” his tone is husky and worried.
“nothing. I am just overwhelmed. I mean no one took me out like this. Thanks. But you really don’t have to do this. Let’s go before you regret yourself for doing all this.” I said. My voice is choking.
“why you think I will regret. I am with one of most sweet and beautiful girl on this earth” he said in his sweet seductive voice.
“beautiful…” I laughed dryly.
“yeah beautiful. You know you are very beautiful. Sweet and cute. From college days I wanted to tell you this. But you seem to be always avoiding me. So I thought you don’t like me. When you came here for an interview I tried my level best to convince boss to keep you in my department so that we can talk more but here also you were doing same. Am I that bad?” his voice is full of sincerity.
“no… I mean you are very good and nice. Every girl in this office likes you”
“but you don’t like me?”
“no.. I like you… I mean you know” shit what am I saying?
He laughed and pull me closer and hug me tightly. “then why you never write your name on the cards and flowers you sent.”
I looked at him horrified. Oh god how he knows this. Shit. I knew it something is different. I got up hurriedly and grab my bag.
“I don’t know what you are talking about and it’s too late I think I should go.” I was about to turn he grab my elbow and pull me on his lap.
“not before you answer me. Tell me why you never told me that you like me? It took me 5 years to find out that its you. I cannot tell you how much happy I was when I saw you in that morning at my letter box and then the same handwriting. Oh Mansi why you didn’t tell me? I would have been happy to know that the girl I like since college likes me back”
I looked at him and trying to understand the words came from his mouth the girl he likes since college likes him back. What does that mean? He likes me since college?
“oh Mansi it’s so easy now. Wait” he makes me stand on my feet and then put his jacket on the bench. He plucks one rose from the garden and then he was on his knees. Oh no what is he doing?
He took my hand in one of his and then gave me flower and ask “will you be my girlfriend Mansi?”
I was shocked I mean I have imagined this in my every dream and now when it is actually happening I think I am gonna faint. I was speechless.
“oh Mansi please say something my knees are hurting” he said shuffling. I laughed and said yes my voice is coming like whisper and once he got up I launch myself on him and hug him tightly and repeat. Yes yes..
“don’t cry baby. Please. Now you just have to smile. I will always keep you happy and safe. This my responsibility for the rest of my life.”
And then more surprisingly he brushed his lips at the corner of my mouth. I feel like world has stopped around me. I forgot where we are and what we were doing. It’s like my prince charming has arrived and taking me with him. Stupid smile on my face and crimson cheeks are betraying me. Actually I wanted to say no but my body and heart took over my logical mind and parted my lips. His kiss is tender but with passion and sincerity.
When we stopped for breathing we both were panting he kissed my forehead and said “I Love you Mansi”.
And I was giggling like love stuck teenager and said “I love you too”