Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Beginning, A Reason For Living

Dark clouds had been ruling the sky all day, looking unrelenting as ever even as the night approached. Sameer rang the doorbell, brushing the glistening drops of rain off his black jacket, standing outside his home.

He shook his head as he recalled that his sister, Shruti, wouldn't be home that night, not till the wee hours at least. Fumbling within his bag, he managed to retrieve a bunch of keys.

The door clicked open softly as he slipped in the key and turned the knob, letting himself inside, quickly shutting the door behind him. The hallway was dimly lit. He shivered a little as a draft of warm air hit his handsome face. The radiator had been left on. He rolled his eyes, inwardly blaming Shruti.

A strong whiff of baking caught him by surprise. Sniffing appreciatively, he made his way to the kitchen, taking off his damp jacket.

“You said you’d not be home before 8! What are you doing here at 7?” hearing Aaina’s voice, he turned around so fast that he nearly gave himself a crick in the neck.

“I was supposed to pick you up for dinner from your home. What are you doing here at all?” he asked, amazed, as she walked up to him.

Standing on her toes, she wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him. He kissed her back, slowly and gently, but intensely, tightly embracing her. She pulled away several seconds later to take a good look at him.

“The meeting ended earlier than we had anticipated. So, here I am.” Sameer answered her earlier question, his eyes roving over her face, gauging how she was, without actually asking the question.

Aaina was in a knee-length, velvet midnight-blue dress that shimmered with the slightest movement she made, accentuating her dark eyes and creamy skin.

“You love home-cooked meals. So, I took the day off. Shruti had plans with her friends, and gave me the keys willingly. So, here I am.” she smiled, looking into his gorgeous chocolate-brown eyes, stroking his jet-black hair.

He leaned in and kissed her again as she wiped off a stray water droplet on his neck.

“I missed you, too.” she breathed against his lips, replying to his unspoken feeling.

He smiled and nodded. It had been two weeks since they had last met.

“Why aren’t you wearing any shoes?” Sameer questioned, incredulous, as he noticed her walk barefoot into the kitchen.

“I was getting ready when I heard you waltz in. So, I thought ‘fuck the shoes’ and came out to meet you. Besides, the central heating is on.” she chuckled, pointing toward one of the vents.

Sameer laughed as he followed her.

“Go freshen up. Don’t follow me around like a lost puppy.” she chided him playfully.

“But, I love to watch you cook.” he complained, following her nevertheless.

“I’ve done all the cooking, and the baking. I just need to frost the cake.” she told him, maneuvering her way around him to and from the fridge.

Completely engrossed in decorating her precious cake, she looked extra charming. When he was assured that she wouldn’t need anything else, he snaked his arms around her waist, resting his chin at the base of her neck. Her soft brown hair had a lingering sweet scent to it.

She felt him plant a chaste kiss on her hair. She smiled and smeared a blob of buttercream icing on his nose.

“I don’t care.” he chuckled, snuggling closer.

“Noooooooo!” she squealed, getting away just in time before he could transfer the frosting from his nose onto her neck and hair.

“Go, get cleaned.” she said, pushing him out of the kitchen.

“And, you get some footwear on.” he said, grabbing her hand, dragging her along.

She pecked on his cheek before almost pushing him into the bathroom.

“Hey! Don’t change into your pajamas!” she yelled from outside after wearing her white fuzzy bunny slippers.

“What? Why?” he asked, poking his head out as he half opened the door.

“I don’t want my dinner date to be in his PJs.” she rolled her eyes and glided out of his room.

It was nearly 8 pm when Sameer turned up at the dining table where Aaina was setting the table for dinner. He was in a jet black tuxedo, tailored to perfection.

“Finally. I thought you had fainted in there, or something.” she joked.

“Haha.” he said, sarcastic.

“I know, right?” she laughed, anyway, “You look delectable, by the way.” she said, pulling him by his neck-tie.

“Wow! Now that’s a compliment you don’t get every day.” he laughed, kissing her.

“How was your day?” she asked, getting back to laying the table.

“The usual. Mad clients, stupid colleagues, ignorant boss.” he answered, helping her.

“And, sane, sensible, know-it-all you.” she snorted.

“Of course.” he chuckled, “How was yours?”

“Oh, I slept till noon knowing I had to toil away in the evening,” she snickered, “then I came here.”

“So when you were chatting with me at lunch, it was from here?”

“Guilty as charged.” she grinned, displaying a set of perfect white teeth.

“You’re amazing, you know.” he said, as they both sat down for dinner.

“I know. Thanks, anyway.” she laughed, again.

He gazed at her cheerful face. She was the one who had brought fun, laughter, happiness, and life back to his life.

“Look, your favorite.” she said, taking off the lid of a small white casserole, revealing baked bell peppers and tomatoes.

He looked at her face,
“You really do hate me, right?”

“What happened, sweetie? Something wrong?” she looked radiant, and extremely serious.

“You deserve an Oscar.” he said rolling his eyes, snatching the lid from her hands, and re-placing it on the bowl.

Sameer, in fact, hated bell peppers and tomatoes to the core. Aaina knew this, and she wasn’t someone who’d pass an opportunity to play a prank.

Aaina cracked up at his comment, laughing uncontrollably. He watched her for a while before joining in.

“Oh, God! Your expression was worth it, Sameer!” she said, in between laughs, dabbing the tears at the corner of her eyes with the table napkin.

"Yeah, yeah." he muttered.

“Everything else is your favorite, I promise.” she smiled, air-kissing him.

“And, what about your favorite?”

You. Delectable, remember?” she retorted, as she began loading up his plate with food.

                                                    * * * * *

“Are you sure you wanna watch this? You don’t even like this movie.” Sameer asked as they settled on the couch before his giant LED tv.

After a long dinner of inconsequential talks and sumptuous food, they had gone out for a stroll after changing into more comfortable clothing. It was 10:30 pm when they had finally returned.

“I don’t wanna watch, actually. I just wanna snuggle.” she told him, cuddling closer to his seated form, as he draped a blanket over both of them.

Just thirty minutes into the movie, he felt Aaina’s breathing slow down and even out. She inched closer still, as she went deeper into blissful slumber.

Sameer kissed the top of her head, lowered the volume, and watched on for a while, sighing happily. A little later, he too felt drowsiness overpowering him. Carefully scooping up his sleeping girlfriend in his arms so as to not wake her up, he went to his bedroom. Ever so gently, he laid her down on the bed, covered her with the duvet, and slipping in beside her, he hugged her close to himself. Soon he was fast asleep.

He felt her stir after what seemed only moments to him.

“What’s wrong?” he asked groggily.

Aaina had woken up as if on cue. Hundreds and thousands of fireworks echoed, one after the other, each one momentarily lighting up the midnight sky.

“Oh, look!" she said, signaling toward his spherical LED alarm clock.

It displayed 12:00 in a soft cyan color.

"Happy 2014, sleepyhead!” she wrapped her arms around him, giving him a warm and tender kiss.

“To you, too, love.” he whispered, huskily.

            * * * * *