Monday, January 7, 2013

The Night Is So Long When Everything's Wrong

"Nina!" Virat called out, glancing at his watch, sitting on a beige chesterfield before the fireplace.

"Here." he heard her say softly.

Virat turned around and his eyes opened wide at the sight that greeted him.

She blushed at his reaction.

Nina was in a long, flowing, black dress with swarovski-studded straps that criss-crossed at the back. Her glittery black and silver stilettos glistened in the flickering light of the fire. Her platinum and diamond wedding-ring adorned her left hand while she wore sparkling diamond drop-earrings. Her usually straight brown her hung in gentle romantic curls down her bare neck to her mid-back.

"You look beautiful." he said, standing right in front of her, cupping her face, his piercing black eyes gazing lovingly into her twinkling black eyes.

"You look like my pretty boy that you are." she said, impishly and he laughed.

Virat was handsome, to the say the least. Tonight, he wore a dinner jacket with a maroon shirt and immaculate shiny black shoes. His wedding-ring was a platinum band engraved with both their initials.

They had been married for just over a year and were in Rovaniemi to enjoy a white Christmas. Tonight, they were going to attend the Yule Ball being held in the hotel that they were staying in.

All eyes were on the smashing couple as they walked together through the party hall. There were many good-looking men and women at the party, but Nina and Virat were, inarguably the best.

"Hey, Virat! Hi, Nina!" Arush greeted, as he spotted the couple.

Arush Chauhan was a friend of both Nina and Virat. It was a coincidence that Arush, too, had come to Rovaniemi with his wife, Mayuri. The two couples found out this happy coincidence on the second day of Virat and Nina's stay.

"Hey!" Virat greeted back while Nina smiled.

"Nina, you look awesome." Arush complimented, "You're a lucky dog, Virat."

"Dog? Maybe. Lucky? Not at all. I had to work VERY hard to get her." Virat chuckled and winked at his gorgeous wife.

"Where's Mayuri?" asked Nina, to divert attention away from herself.

"Um..." he said, scanning the room, "Ah, there she is." he pointed towards a group of women near one of the chocolate fountains, "She's made new friends. Why don't you join her, Nina?" he suggested.

Nina was reluctant to let go of Virat's arm and subconsciously gripped it harder. She was one of those people who could make friends easily but she never liked to hang out with new people.

"They won't bite you." Virat joked. She punched him playfully.

"I don't like people." she stated, calmly.

"Not even me?" they suddenly heard Mayuri's voice who had caught sight of them and glided over in a matter of moments.

"Hey!" Nina said, happily and the two women hugged lightly.

"You look pretty!" they both said to each other in unison and started laughing, "Come, my friends are dying to know who you are." Mayuri said.

"Eh? Me? Why?" Nina asked, confused.

"Because they are feeling insecure." Mayuri laughed, taking Nina's hand and pulling her in the general direction of her friends.

Virat waved at Nina as she pouted, Mayuri pulling her along, chattering nonchalantly.

"Why does she not like people? Arush asked, amused when the two women had left.

"Because most of the world is crawling with 'inhuman humans'." he said, tearing his gaze away from her retreating figure.

"Those must be her words?" Arush laughed.

"Yep." Virat nodded, "And, I agree too. With the kind of people she has come across in her life, I don't ever wonder why she's not keen to meet any new kind."

"Maybe she herelf is too innocent?" Arush, wondered out loud.

"Yes. She is innocent, kind and gentle and real big-hearted. But that gives others no right to hurt her. Or, others who are like her."

"Alcohol is the solution to this serious discussion!" exclaimed Arush, as he picked up two snifters from a passing server's tray, "Cheers."

"This will be the first and last," Virat told him, "You know I don't drink much. So, don't force me."

"Yes, sir!" Arush guffawed.

Virat occasionaly turned to look around at how his wife was doing while talking about insignificant things with Arush.

"Why don't we switch places? Else you'll get a sprain in your neck." smirked, Arush.

"So kind of you!" Virat commented, swapping places nevertheless.

He caught Nina's eye and smiled at her while she pouted.

"Love you." he mouthed and she smiled.

"You too." he read her lips.

Their moment was broken by a middle-aged man who bumped into Nina.

The man seemed to have apologized as he saw her say 'that's okay' before quickly turning her back to him, trying to engage herself in the group conversation.

"I'll be right back," Virat told Arush, placing his glass in his hand, as he started walking towards his wife, thinking it would be best to keep her by his side.

Even as he hurried towards her, he saw the man sneak up behind Nina and, ever so stealthily, brushed her back with his fingers.

"YOU ASSHOLE!" Virat screamed fiercely, as he now ran across the hall towards Nina, who had jumped up in shock, her entire frame shaking.

"YOU SICK PERVERT! HOW DARE YOU!" Virat shouted his lungs out, catching hold of the man by the lapels of his jacket and punched his face repeatedly.

The man fell down to the floor but Virat continued to beat him to pulp.

"Virat!" he heard Nina call out in a tiny voice.

"Virat, he'll die. Let go of him." his brain registered Mayuri's voice but he continued to punch the man whose nose and mouth were now bleeding profusely.

"HOW DARE YOU!" Virat was murderous.

"VIRAT! STOP IT!" he heard Arush and simultaneously felt five or six pairs of hands pulling him away.

Virat stood there, growling like a mad dog, breathing heavily, the other men restricting him with difficulty.

Some other people helped the man get up who look absolutely terrified.

"Leave him." Arush said, trying to pull Virat away.

Virat turned around, but almost immediately turned around again, picking up a champagne bottle lying nearby, smashed it on that man's hand, roaring.

Some shards flew and hurt his own hand as well. But he wasn't bothered.

"Virat!" he heard Nina whimper.

His eyes quickly darted in his wife's direction,
"Are you okay?" he asked, quickly reaching out to her, his voice hoarse. He knew it was a stupid question. She wasn't okay, obviously.

Nina nodded with some difficulty as she trembled,
"Please let's go." she said, softly.

He took off his coat and put it over Nina's shoulders.

The crowd that had gathered moved away to let them pass.

Nina and Virat did not say a word as they went up to their room in the elevator.

Once in their room, Virat took out his black hoodie and made her wear it right over her dress.

"Still cold?" he asked as he put a blanket around themselves, hugging her close to her, rubbing her back.

He felt her arms wound tightly around his neck, and her tears on his chest.

"Shhh!" he rocked her back and forth, kissing her head.

Nina's silent tears now turned into loud, broken sobs.

"Shhh," he whispered softly, kissing her head again.

"Virat," he heard her say in between tears.

"Why are you crying, love? It's not your fault. That man was a sick bastard."

"I feel- I feel dirtied, tainted, Virat." she finally revealed what was killing her.

Virat felt his heart sink. He did not know how to console her. Now, he was in pain, extreme emotional pain.

He kissed her eyes, her face, her neck, her shoulders, over the hoodie fabric and then pulled her into an embrace.

Minutes later Nina pulled away a little and looked into Virat's face. She had expected anger writ large. But there was something else too: pain and tear-stains.

"Why are you crying?" she asked, horrified, "Did you hurt yourself badly? I am so sorry I forgot. Show me!" she pulled his right hand to her face.

"It's nothing." he said, gently taking away his hand from hers.

"What is it then? Why are you crying?" she asked, worried.

He kissed her forehead and sighed heavily before answering,
"Because, I can never empathize. Because, I can never fully understand what it feels like to be violated."

"Virat," she began.

"It's killing me to see you this way and hear what you just said... I am so sorry, Nina. I had promised that I would protect you, always. I failed." his tears shattered her.

"You have protected me. It's not your fault, either." she said, through tears, hugging him.