Aastha was hurt, Aakash could see that. But she kept her emotions under check. The damage had been done. And Aakash could not repair it now with all of them around. He wanted to explain everything to Aastha, if only their present situation allowed.
After a good 15 minutes, Aastha left the group. She had a class in another 15 minutes.
She rushed towards the parking lot. Streams of tears flowing down her cheeks. She failed to realise why Neh’s statement hurt her so much.
“Aasthaaaa…” she heard Aakash’s voice from the distance. He quickly wiped her tears.
“I am so sorry. Please don’t feel bad. Whatever Neh said…” Aakash tried to explain.
“Why should you be sorry. And is there a reason to feel bad? It is just a gift. I told you that you can get it changed if you do not like it. Its just that the salesman over there made a fool out of me. He told me this is the latest model. Anyhow its my mistake… I should have enquired about it before impulsively buying it….!” Aastha was continuously blabbering, when she felt a strong hand on her shoulder that pulled her. And soon she was engulfed within a pair of strong arms.
For a moment Aastha failed to recognise what had happened. But the comfort and solace she felt just broke all her defences and she started crying.
Aakash could feel her distress in the warm dampness that flowed on his shirt. He wished to take all her pain away like she had done a few months ago.
“Sorry, Aastha, I am so sorry.” he muttered.
Aastha just could shake her head in disagreement. “Please, you need not… be sorry…” she managed to say. “I just don’t understand why it has hurt so much. It should not. I am just over reacting. Its just a stupid gift, but why this pain…”
Aakash just drifted her out of hug, cupping her face, his thumbs slowly wiping away the tears from her cheeks, “No sweets, I can understand. And I can explain everything. Please, just don’t cry.”
Her tear stricken eyes looked deeply into his.
Aakash didn’t know whether it was the heat of the moment or just his undeclared love, but his lips slowly found their way towards hers, just brushing them. Like, if he wanted to take all the sorrows from her.
The kiss would have intensified if not that phone ringing which startled her and she immediately shrugged away from the hug, too embarrassed to admit that she’d been kissed.
“Hello, yes I know. Will be there in 5 minutes.” She answered her phone which had brought her to her senses. And in another moment she was on her scooty and drove away.
Aakash stayed rooted on his spot, too consumed by the wave of emotions. He had not only hugged but kissed her too. Oh!! What must she be thinking. I am not trifling with her. She needs to know. She must know. For a moment, he considered following her, but realising that would make her all the more embarrassed, he put that off for a while.
He would have to wait for the night, the usual time, when they could talk at stretch. He would tell her about his feelings, honestly.
Her behaviour for the past some days had changed. Was he reading too much into the situation? The anxiety for the night to come was consuming him up. “Please listen to my heart beats.” His heart bled out for her.