Them - Part 1

He gazed long and deep into her eyes… She leaned on to him and planted a little peck on his lips. It was her way of saying, ‘There, satisfied now?’ He liked that.

She came over to him. His heart was doing a thousand already. When she spoke, it went out of control. He could barely hear her words with his heart booming. For a brief instant he wondered whether she could hear it.

She was saying something, but the words wouldn’t register. He was so engrossed in looking at her that he forgot that he was supposed to hear and answer – as is wont in a conversation.

” … you coming?”, he snapped back to reality just in time to catch the last few words.

“Sorry? I wasn’t listening…”

“I said, we – that is I, Sam and Anita – are going for a movie in the evening, and I was wondering, if you aren’t doing anything, then maybe you would like to join us…”

He couldn’t believe it! Neither his ears nor his luck! She was asking him out? But …

“Now, wait a minute. Isn’t this supposed to happen the other way round? I mean, I think you stole my line!!”

She laughed. It was a simple laugh with no strings attached. A laugh, that seemed to have originated in the deep recesses of her heart. A laugh that had frolicked all the way to her lips where it had played for quite some time, maddening him all the more.

“I had heard you were humorous, but this really takes the cake!”

“Oh!” he said, mocking sarcasm, “So you want an entertainer for the intermission?”

“Now, that’s downright offensive! Usually, I would take offense at such a remark and never ever talk to such a snooty person again…”

“Usually,” he said simply.

She blushed and replied matter-of-factly, “Yes. Usually.”

His cell phone beeped indicating he’d received a message…

He smiled and took out his cell phone. He opened the menu option for text messages and began composing a message. At the same time he turned to her and said, “I don’t mean to disappoint you, but I don’t think I can make it. The boss has me nailed for the evening. You’ll have to look for another clown for the evening.”

He could see she was disappointed. But she tried her best not to show it. She said, instead, “Oh! Hard luck, I must say. The critics have labeled this as one of the best romances shown on the Indian screen. Too bad you’re gonna miss it.”

“Guess I’ll have to catch it sometime later then,” he replied coolly.

“Hope you enjoy watching the movie alone,” she said.

She was fuming and making an attempt not to show it. It was really funny. She looked even prettier when she did that. He suppressed a laugh and continued with his work, satisfied with the result.

She (almost) stomped off to her desk and was in a pretty bad mood the rest of the day. She spoke to no one and didn’t even look at him for the rest of the day. He, on the other hand, was enjoying the day thoroughly, each and every moment of it.

Her anger had turned to sorrow and by evening she was pretty much in tears. She wouldn’t talk to anyone or tell anyone about it, but it was evident from her overall behavior that she was hurt. Deeply. Why did he have to reject her so outright? Couldn’t he have used some tact at least? She remembered the time her mother had told her, ‘Men are tactless. They don’t understand that a woman’s heart is fragile and needs to be handled with care.’

They met at the movie hall a good ten minutes prior to the show. It turned out that the tickets were nearly sold out, so Sam had to buy them in black and naturally there was a problem with the seat numbers. Two of the seats were in the last row and the third was in the last-but-third row. She looked at the two of them who were looking at her eagerly, hoping she would make a judicious choice, and she did.

As she sat in the bucket seat in the aisle of the last-but-third row, she wondered for a brief moment who her immediate partner would be. Hers was an aisle seat which meant there would be only one immediate partner. The mention of the word partner caused her to look back at the duo of Sam and Anita, the latter of who was busy feeding popcorn to the former. She sighed and turned to look at the screen. The lights began to dim, signaling the beginning of the movie. The last of the late-comers had begun to rush in…

“Excuse me!”

A voice in the dark. A familiar voice in the dark. For a moment she could not believe it. The voice continued.

“Would you mind shifting to the next seat? I have a thing for aisle seats, you see!”

She looked up and keeping her face as straight as she could replied, “I am sorry, that is not my seat. The ticket says this is my seat.”

“Wouldn’t you change your seat even if I requested you to? Or, what if I told you, that there’s something on the seat that you gotta see…”

She looked at him in disbelief. And then she slowly turned and pushed the seat down and gasped. Lying there on the seat, was a single red rose. She looked at him and saw him grinning. She didn’t have to look back, she knew they would be grinning too… She blushed and shifted to the next seat.

A few hours back, the text message to a bewildered Sam had read:

I’m joinin’. Don’t tell her. I’ll arrange 4 d tkts. Pik dem up wen u rch :)