Part 18: Darlene.
Alex wasn't at all convinced as to how spending the day in the house with Sam on Valentine's day looked more brightening and thoughtful than to go out on a date. She kept asking so many questions and suggesting dating advices to her sister. Darlene just ignored her ranting and arranged the table with fine silk tablecloth and interrupted Alex rant by saying, "Do you wanna help me Alex now or just rant about how you'd rather have me and Sam go out?"
Alex blew the air and smiled sarcastically. She leaned onto the table and helped Darlene put out the table cloth with perfect edges. "I know he's been beaten. I don't even know what happened but that doesn't mean he would not go out with you anywhere, Darly!" Alex tried very hard to convince her sister.
"Both of us have decided it is better to stay home and order pizza and play some backgammon and watch bad tv and look up the stars together." Darlene replied politely.
She didn't tell Alex about the horrible night of the Winter Dance. She spared him the atrocity she had to face and she lied about Sam being hit by Max. She told him he got beaten up by couple of boys at school as a result of bullying. Alex had bought that, Darlene thought.
I just wanna die tonight.
"I'll go and dress up now. Sam could be coming any minute, now." Darlene rushed back up in her room. She looked herself in the mirror and said she'd be strong today.
How can you still be strong when your soul is broken?
She could feel the urge to cry in her eyes. Her eyes watered at every little thing now. Bit she controlled them and wiped them off. She looked herself in the mirror and licked her dry lips. Watching her in the mirror her mind couldn't help but think back four nights ago during the winter dance. She realized how weak and unhelpful she felt. She realize how disadvantageous she felt. She licked her lips again and wiped all the salty tears streaming down her face. She wasn't sure how she'd be able to face Sam now. She wasn't sure how she'd be able to face anyone now. Dryly, she picked out some clothes from her wardrobe and put it on the bed. No matter what she tried, the night kept coming back to haunt her. I drove her mad. It drove her entire entity. She wasn't sure if she was alive.
I would rather be someone else's dream than be real.
She picked a black tee with a red circle on it like a Japanese flag, only the red circle had eyes and a smile. The tee was long enough to broid her shoulders and fell all the way down. She combed her hair and carried it on one side. She wore light blue jeans and freshened herself. She heard the voices downstairs and realized Sam had already come.
I'm not sure I can face him. What do I tell? What do we talk about? Her mind tripped her again on the night of the dance and she hated it.
God, I want to die.
Coolly, she went down the stairs to face whatever it took to face Sam. She wanted to talk to him and laugh with him like she did before...everything. She went down and found Sam talking to Alex by the dining table. He wore a grey shirt with dark pants. His messy hair embroided perfectly and his cheeks deepened when he saw her. His cheeks were still scarred and his lip swell. She went down and hearing her steps he got up and turned around.
He licked his broken lip and I licked my broken body.
He came towards her and hugged her. Her eyes widened in surprise. She wrapped her arms around him and he did by her. Embracing him felt like the world had given her a second chance. It felt beautiful and it felt home. Even after everything, she was glad she had something to hold on to her life. His fingers tangled in her hair and played down like a stream. When he aparted the embrace, all the smiles in her died and she realized how sympathetic he looked. Her body shattered within and his sad smile failed to uplift her.
I would rather die than see his sad smile..
Alex had earlier suggested that if they were planning to stay home on Valentine's the least she could do is go to her friend's house and stay for the day and give them privacy. But, Darlene had dodged that thought and said that all the three would be staying at home on Valentine's and are gonna have a great time of their lives.
The awkwardness between her and Sam immediately died when Sam kissed her while watching the television. They had ordered pizza and laid down on the couch and watched movies. Alex chose what they were gonna watch and Sam and Darlene went on with it. At the middle of it, Sam turned around him and wrapped his arm around Darlene and kissed her lightly on the lips. She could feel his broken lip and it scarred many untold stories. They watched movies and ate pizza and then played backgammon. They played monopoly and it was all fun. She hadn't thought she'd laugh again but Alex and Sam made sure she did. They played pictionary and Darlene realized how horrible Alex drew. They all laughed and had fun and the night was leading to perfection when she realized so was the night of The Winter Dance..
After a while, Alex sat at the table crunching chips while Darlene and Sam sat out by the balcony eyeing up the wonderfulness of sky and its million stars. "What do you see, Darlene?" he asked suddenly still looking up at the stars.
Darlene looked up and saw the amazing sky. She bit her lip and said, "A divine and phenomenal world with an incredibly nocent creatures in it." She stared at the sky still but she could feel his gaze on her.
"Some stars are bogus. Doesn't mean you hate the entire sky." He wanted her to feel comfortable.
"Some stars don't ever realize the fakeness of others until they've actually lived it." She hinted on how she had lost the hope in the world.
"But, some stars still fall in love with the broken ones." He replied and she looked at him.
It was the first time, although incredibly indirect, but had he just confessed his love for her? Even after everything?
She looked back up at the stars and realized how true he was. "But, Sam, what if the broken stars aren't stars at all and they lose their shine? Doesn't it feel limited for the other brightening star to fall for an already broken one?" She asked him.
He turned his gaze and met with hers. She witness the enlarging of his brown eyes. The pupil grew larger than ever before and she realized how she was his finest drug. "It is not in the hands of any other to tell who falls for whom. Love just--happens. It's unavoidable and it's rare. If you're incredibly lucky you'll have the joy to feel it. He leaned towards Darlene and whispered in her ear, "And I do."
She couldn't help but smile. Her back of the eyes hurt but this time the water was joyous. She licked her lips and kissed him. She wrapped her hands around his neck and felt his fingers touching her cheek. She brushed her lips against his and it confirmed her that she was alive.
I don't want for you to feel limited. I love you, more than you can ever know, Sam. You're the most incredible thing that had happened to me in my entire life. But, it is because I love you, I do not want to see you bounded and curbed in my finite existence when you could just as easily live your infinite boundaries. I love you and that's why I need to set you free..
Surely, a little bit of lamenting far exceeds a lifetime of clemency..
She was not the same, from then..... she was more open to me, would share everything going in her life with me,.......except her love life, many a times i would ask her, but every time ....that same ignorance and deviation from the topic,
Even i stopped my query, after a point of time .....as i was getting embarrassed for her this kind of reaction..... but apart from all these i was her best friend, so she would enjoy her tiffin with me, play riddles, and many other amateur stuff, .......and the more, i see her that, with a childish behaviour and innocenct face smiling around .....i would fall for her even more, .......
My heart was still unwilling to accept, that she don't love me......but the ego would say, what else is left now, she loves Karthik, you're just a loser, .......my ego is exactly right, i grew in grief.......and soon my grief turned into rudeness,
I would become more and more embarrassed, every time i think of her, and the worst part was, when she and Karthik used to talk with each other , at the last bench, closely.........
that moment, used to piss my patience off, and i would literally turn my face , like i don't even know them.....
Well, it was not only me who was suffering,........
in my home, dad and mum were also suffering my rudeness,
mum rarely used to scold me, as i would argue with her, at every single point, and the same goes with dad, earlier the fights were between my mum and dad, now they were between me and my mum, or me and my dad.
It was really painful....... to see her love someone else, in front of me........
and with all these, we came in front of our fear, it was now less than 2 months from the board exams, i was not at all in the mood of studying..............
(****readers are requested to go through the previous chapters again****
so that #the_novel_will_reach_deeper_in_them)
Finally his silence broken, and he said.....
"Look bro, ....you know that, i like her and .....was going to propose her "
I frequently replied, " But then you decided, you won't "
He said, " Yeah, that was true but .........okay leave it, tell me how your studies are going on "
I looked at him, with serious eyes, and asked " have you proposed her ?"
He answered, " Okay look......."
I interrupted, " Yes or no ? "
he kept his mum, .......then looked at his watch and said, " am getting late, dad's in the home, i have to leave now "......i kept staring at him....but he left
I didn't stopped him, .....as I've got my answer..... his refusal to answer ....explained everything,
I reached home, but was numb, i was screaming..... but nobody could hear it...... crying, but unseen; my heart was again saying me, ask Nitya for a last time...... and so i decided, as no more options were left,
So, the first day, in school after the vacations.....i caught her in the recess and asked her directly, about everything.... i am her close friend, she won't say lie, i thought inside.....
but she too was not answering me, trying to deviate the topic,
.......but after asking her for several times, she replied "Well....... i don't know actually..... but Sanju is cute"
she smiled and her cheeks were turning pink.
I replied, " so he have proposed you, right.......and what you said yes ? "
She was blushing...., and said "ummmm...... i don't know", and left smilingly....
I didn't asked her further, .......anything about that
The moment Karthik told me everything, i kept my utmost patience and asked him normally , " How do you know that ?"......he took a deep breathe and replied....
"Well.... right from the very first day, of the vacations, he used to come my home ...either in evening or in morning.... he didn't had any important thing to say....would just take me to a walk through the road.....
So one day, i asked him, "what's the matter, ......as you and me, both know very well, you have nothing to say me "....and he told me everything... that he likes Nitya, and going to propose her soon...wagerah wagerah.... and Nitya's home is just next to me......
I said...."then ?"
"And then one day he went up to her.....and simply proposed her"
"What did she said ? "....i asked impatiently
He replied, " i don't know what actually she said, but when i asked Sanju...... he said ...she has accepted his proposal"......
......and then, after a couple of chit-chat with Karthik, i left from there... came home,
but was broken from inside.... heart was weeping silently and thought.....what should i do now ?.... the day passed in grief and sorrow, and the night too was pity less.... unwilling to sleep...... and decided to confront Sanju, and would ask him the truth.
The next day, i left early for Sanju's home.....my anger was trying to dominate my confusion when i reached his home, .....
and the first thing i said him was, " Nitya and you are in a relationship right ? "......
He said, "okay, look... mum's in there, let us move outside......"
we came out of his home, towards the road,............
..... i was waiting for an answer