Maan stared blankly, his eyes focused on the coffin. He could hear his brother wailing, he couldn’t bring himself to turn and comfort his brother as he felt his heart breaking every single moment as he stood here. He wanted to crouch down and pull open the coffin, he wanted to shake his dad awake but he knew… he knew his dad had left them. His father had broken the one promise he’d promised to keep.
He blinked when he felt a small hand slip into his and squeeze, he turned and looked down at Geet who’d stared ahead sadly.
He exhaled the breath he was holding and closed his eyes allowing his tear to fall down.
Two months passes by in a blur, the buzzing sounds of chaos always coming in through the double doors, our names being yelled by residents, our pagers ringing every few minutes.
It was going to continue, however this time I’d have my husband to go home to, even if it just meant going to sleep.
I glance at my watch as I settle in the plane, a few hours then I’d be back in Manhattan, I’d be back home in my husband’s arms.
My heartrate increases as the plane starts and we’re moving across the runway, I exhale as I already imagine how my husband is going to greet me.
The last two weeks, we’d barely been able to keep in touch due to my schedule. I had not been able to respond to the first couple of messages and I hadn’t heard from Maan for over a week now myself.
As the seatbelt signs go off, I unbuckle my belt setting back comfortably and pull out my phone, I open my photos and smile scrolling through the images.
“Truth or dare?” Sarah arches her brows at Maan.
Maan looks down at the bottle pointing to him and glances over at Geet who stares in amusement.
“Truth” Maan answers, he knew Sarah Jenkins very well. If he were to choose dare, she’d probably dare him to either strip naked or make out with herself.
“Scared to choose dare?” Geet challenged.
Maan scowled at her, she only smirked taking a swig of her bottle of beer.
“Dare” he changed his answer and looked at Sarah.
“You’re going to make out with the person the bottle falls on” Sarah stated placing her hand on the bottle.
Geet smiled, “That’s too easy” she cut in grabbing the bottle, “You’re going to go skinny dipping in the neighbours pool” she pointed.
Maan frowned, the neighbours yard was hers and Archana was certainly going to kill her.
“Agree with that” Jacqueline raised her bottle smiling wickedly.
“Fine” he stood leaving his bottle and walked across the yard, he jumped over the small fence and approached the pool. He glanced over his shoulder, Geet, the girls, his brother, his friends stood by the fence snickering.
He cursed unbuttoning his shirt and started undoing the buttons of his jeans when the security lights came on. The others ducked when they heard Archana and Kavita swinging open the door yelling, Maan turned to run when he tripped and fell onto the grass.
“Maan” Archana gasped seeing him just in his jeans lying half naked.
“What the hell are you doing here, boy?” Kavita poked his shoulder with her heels.
“It was Geet” Maan huffed sitting up and looked over, all his friends disappeared.
“I think he’s hallucinating” Archana noted.
“I’m not” Maan stood grabbing his shirt and slipped into it.
“You hit yourself pretty hard, your junk okay?” Kavita asked poking him.
“Fuck sakes” Maan jumped back and noticed his girlfriend walking out and laughing.
“His junks still working” Kavita informed Geet.
“You’re all crazy” Maan turned to leave.
“Hey, cry baby!” Geet called out.
“Do I need to spell it out for you?” Geet scowled when he looked over.
“I’ll pick you up at 8” Maan smirked making Geet smile sheepishly.
“Yay! Loopy has finally asked her to the dance” Archana clapped whilst Kavita gave Geet a high five.
I walk through the terminal glancing around for a glimpse of Maan, I feel a tinge of disappointment when he isn’t here. Maan would have known that I was coming home, he would’ve known and he would’ve been here to pick me up so why wasn’t he here?
I pull out my phone to see if there were any messages from him but there wasn’t anything.
I ponder for a moment whether I should call him, but what if he’d genuinely forgotten and I’d ruin this if I were to tell him I was here. I could always surprise him.
I grab my suitcase and hail a taxi outside giving the driver my address, I lean back settling for the 40 minute drive back home, my eyes drawn to our photos once again.
“I… I had fun” Maan murmured as he stopped outside of Geet’s house. “Since… my dad… I didn’t think I’d have fun or be smiling. I smiled and had a lot of fun” he expressed.
“He would have wanted you to have fun, not mourn for him everyday” Geet responded.
“I know” Maan nodded.
“You did one good thing, this year” Geet stated.
“And, what is that?”
“You finally asked me out” she grinned.
“I asked you to the dance, I didn’t ask you out” Maan responded stepping back.
“You asked me out, mister” Geet grabbed a hold of his shirt pulling him close. “You and me are now going out. Understood?”
Maan chuckled, “Understood” he nodded.
Geet released his shirt smiling, Maan turned to leave.
Geet pulled out her keys from her purse and looked up, Maan stopped and looked over.
“You haven’t said bye to me” she told him.
Maan contemplated over her words, then walked towards her closing the distance between them. He stood and stared at her, his eyes taking in her beauty.
“Good night” he murmured.
“Good night” she whispered softly in response, he swallowed thickly as they stared at one another, Geet stepped forward as he lifted his hand and placed his palm on her cheek.
He lowered his head as she tiptoed, their lips touched a second later, their hands found themselves around one another as they shared their first kiss.
“We’re here” the driver calls out to me, I smile taking in our house and hand the driver cash climbing out the taxi with my suitcase. My heart races as I dig out my keys as I climb the steps and unlock the door.
I drop the suitcase closing the door behind me and walk around our house, it had been quite a long time since I’d been home to surprise Maan. I had only managed to surprise him twice more since the first time. My heart races jumping excitedly, butterflies skittering in my abdomen as I walk around, my eyes draw to our pictures hung on the wall.
It feels as if I had been gone years instead of months, I check the kitchen and dining room then head upstairs to our bedroom.
I frown glancing at the clock noting that Maan wasn’t home, it was nearing 9pm and he was usually home by 5pm.
I pull open my phone and call him, I wasn’t going to tell him I had returned home, I already started imagining his response, him telling me he’s on his way home. I’d quickly shower, change into his favourite lace cami and wait for him on our bed.
The phone continues to ring, and then goes straight to voicemail.
I cut the call and try once more, and once again it rings then goes to voicemail.
Before I could make another attempt at calling Maan, my phone rings and I note that it was Varun. I don’t get a word in when Varun calls out urgently, “Meet me at the hospital quickly!”.
The butterflies that were skittering in excitement fell down in one swoop and my heart lurched up to my throat almost stopping my breaths.
Maan headed home with a big smile on his face, he had kissed the girl next door. It was still a little unbelievable that he had kissed Geet, he had never expected to kiss Geet ever in his life time considering their introduction to one another was filled with hatred and annoyance.
He shoved his hands in his pocket as he walked towards his house, he paused when he noticed his mother and Varun stood there.
“What are you doing here?” Maan asked glowering at Namya.
“I asked her to come here” Varun intervened stepping in front of his mother protectively.
“Varun! What are you doing?”
“Stop it” Varun scowled, “She’s upset, can’t you see that?” he pointed.
“And why is Namya madam upset?” Maan crossed his arms.
“Arhaan left her” Varun answered.
Maan stared at Namya for a moment then chuckled, Namya looked up horrified and her cheeks reddened.
“Varun, get inside” Maan told his brother then looked at Namya, “You can leave”.
“She doesn’t have anywhere to go” Varun argued.
“Choose now Varun, you either choose Namya or me. Remember she left dad for Arhaan” Maan stated firmly. “She’s going to find someone else who’s young blooded and leave you for him if you choose her”.
Varun frowned and looked at Namya.
“I… I still loved you both, I love you both” Namya looked between both her sons.
“You chose Arhaan” Maan reminded, he still remembered his father had given her an ultimatum. It was her children or Arhaan and she had chosen Arhaan.
Rajat loving his children too much couldn’t deny her rights of wanting to see them and keeping a bond between them.
Varun cried as Maan held onto his hand and led him inside their house closing the door behind them.
Maan held onto his brother’s shoulder and pulled him for a hug, “Dad’s gone, she walked out on us but I am here. I’m always going to be here for you, Varun”.
Varun cried softly and hugged his brother back tightly.