Her fingers turned the pages of the book she had been staring at blankly for the last hour, Uma’s words ringing in her head. She inhaled deeply, resting her head against the headboard. She hadn’t seen Raj since he had ran into her in the hallway, given that he had left with Uma and Anjali to go back to the hospital.
She exhaled slowly, her earlier conversation with Uma replaying in her head. The sharp ache of her words lingered in her mind, tears stinging her eyes. She hated that she couldn’t fault Uma for her protectiveness, because she was right.
She had hurt him.
She was lying to herself if she thought that they could just be friends.
For fuck’s sake, she hadn’t even been able to stop herself from kissing him when he had been upset about his…
She shook her head, gritting her teeth as she fought against the warmth the memory of their brief kiss gave her. She wanted to tell herself that it had just been for comfort, but she knew it hadn’t been.
Her phone buzzed in against her leg and she looked down, a small smile gracing her face as she read it.
Pooja Nair: Hey love! Just checking on you. Did you get to Chicago safely?
Ananya Iyer: Yeah, I did. Raj’s dad is doing well.
Pooja Nair: How was it seeing Uma Aunty again?
Ananya Iyer: LOL.
She stared at the phone for a while longer, waiting for a response. Pooja’s face showed up on the screen instead.
“Didn’t go well, I take it?” Pooja asked, jumping right into it. Ananya sighed.
“She warned me against Raj.” She stated. Pooja fell silent, exhaling.
“Uh… wow. Desi soap opera much?” Pooja noted wryly. Ananya snickered. “I knew she would say something, but I didn’t expect her to get straight to the point like that.”
Ananya chuckled humorlessly, shaking her head. “She told me that she wasn’t stupid, and that anyone could see that there’s still…”
“She isn’t wrong.” Pooja said gently.
“There’s nothing there Pooja.” Her voice was resigned, and she let out an unsteady breath. “I… I hurt him. There’s no way I can make up for-”
“What did we say about the past?” Pooja interrupted, admonishing. Ananya laughed unsteadily.
“Flush it down the toilet?”
“Look, Anu. I’m not one to advocate for you getting back together with him. I don’t know what he thinks, but I most certainly know that there is something there on your side.” She paused, considering her next words carefully. “And if I were to hazard a guess, I would suspect that he’s struggling with it too.” She said quietly.
There was a long, heavy silence as Ananya absorbed her words.
“I don’t know. He… it’s complicated. I know I shouldn’t feel this way about him. We’re just barely friends. But he… we almost kissed, again and I just — I’m so fucking confused.” She said, the last sentence coming out on a frustrated breath. She cursed, exhaling sharply. Pooja stayed silent, listening.
“You know, maybe it’s not such a bad thing. Maybe this is what you need.”
She swallowed hard, closing her eyes. “What if it doesn’t work out? Assuming that he also…”
“Then you get closure.” Pooja said softly.
Ananya sat down on the bed, her heart sinking. She inhaled deeply, trying to ease the sudden tightness in her chest.
The door clicked and she looked up, meeting Raj’s gaze as he stepped into the room. His mouth opened in apology and she shook her head, turning into the phone.
“I’ll call you later, okay Pooja?”
“Of course. Love you.”
“I love you too.” She murmured, hanging up the phone. She directed her eyes back to his, smiling slightly. He cleared his throat as he shut the door gently behind himself. Mid-morning light streamed through the windows, and he squinted as a ray hit him in the eye.
“How’s Papa doing?” She asked after a beat.
“The doctors say he will be fine. He’s so excited to get out of the hospital and go back to work. Ma is there with him right now, and Di went home with Javi for a bit.” Raj said, his mouth quirking up. The exasperation in his voice was tempered by clear affection for his father, and she couldn’t help but smile with him. She found herself oddly relieved that some things hadn’t changed.
There was a moment of silence before Raj spoke again, his voice tentative. “I can be ready to leave in an hour, if you-”
She cut in, shaking her head. “Oh, no, take your time. I’m in no rush to leave, I can stay the weekend. They probably would like you to stay. I can stay at a hotel.”
“Don’t be silly.” He said sharply. Her mouth snapped shut and he sighed, running his hand through his hair. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have… I just… you’re not unwelcome here.” He said finally.
She regarded him for a moment, an amused smile tugging at her lips. “I’m not unwelcome?”
“You know what I meant. I just…” He trailed off, pressing his lips together. “You came with me without a second thought, Anya, the least I can do is…”
“Stop acting as if you’re indebted to me. I didn’t do you a favor, I did it because that’s what friends do.” She snapped, her eyes flashing. He took a step back, his eyes narrowing. Her jaw tightened in frustration, and she looked away.
“Are we friends, Ananya?” He asked, his gaze piercing. Her stomach dropped to her feet, recognizing the dangerous edge in his voice.
“What sort of an idiotic question is that? Of course we –”
“You know what I meant.” He interrupted, stepping forward. She leaned back on her heels, her heart pounding loudly in her ears. She drew a deep breath, raising her eyes to meet his directly.
“I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean, Raj.”
“Don’t pull that bullshit.”
“What the fuck do you want me to say?” She exclaimed, throwing her hands up. “Do you want me to tell you that I still have feelings for you? Is that what you’re fucking looking for? That three years later, I still haven’t moved on even though I know I don’t deserve you?”
She inhaled sharply as soon as the words left her mouth, her breath growing shallow. His face paled. She closed her eyes and tilted her face back, squeezing her lids shut against the sting of angry tears. He swallowed audibly, his fingers curling into his palms as he resisted the urge to draw her into his arms.
“How many times do I have to say that I’m sorry for you to believe it?” She whispered brokenly. He looked at the ground, knots tightening around his heart. A heavy silence stretched between them, laden with lost words.
“I believe you.” He said finally. Dark laughter escaped her, and she just shook her head. He stepped closer to her, his eyes drifting over her face. “I believe you.” He repeated, his voice more urgent.
Her eyes opened, and his fingers touched the underside of her chin, raising her face to look up at his. He could feel the breath underneath her skin as she inhaled, his nose almost touching hers.
“I believe you.” He said again, his other hand ghosting across her skin, brushing her hair behind her ear. Goosebumps crept up her arms as he touched his lips to hers gently, his fingers sliding down to cup her face. Restraint dangled by a gossamer thread, their bodies held together only by the soft touch of the kiss.
She sighed into his mouth, her hands crumpling the material of his shirt. His restraint snapped, his fingers sliding through her hair, deepening the kiss as her mouth opened underneath his. He pulled her closer, stepping between her legs as his lips left hers, pressing against the skin just beneath her ear. They backed up against the bed, his knees hitting the edge. She moaned, his stubble reddening her skin as heat pooled in her stomach.
“Raj.” She gasped as his tongue brushed against the sensitive skin of her collarbone. Her hands tangled in his hair, and he lifted his head to kiss her again.
“I believe you.” He murmured the words against her lips. She stilled, leaning back to look at him. Her hair had come out of its ponytail, threads resting against her cheek in disarray, the hair tie hanging low on her neck.
Uncertainty appeared in her eyes, her gaze searching his face to discern his sincerity. His chest tightened once he registered the doubt, sensing her trying to put distance between them as her body shifted.
He didn’t want her to leave.
He cupped her face in his hand, his fingers sliding up to push a stray lock behind her ear. His lips brushed against hers lightly, seeking to reassure as he pulled back to look at her.
His eyes were clear, devoid of the careful guard that had been there since they had bumped into each other at the wedding. His thumb trailed across her cheek, brushing the loose hair from her face in a gesture that was achingly familiar.
The tenderness in his voice nearly broke her, and she wrapped her legs around his waist, tilting her head to meld their lips together. She breathed in deeply, leaning her forehead against his.
This was where she wanted to be.
His fingers tightened against her waist as his lips lazily trailed a path down her neck, teasing. She lifted his face back to hers, her fingers tugging at his hair. He chuckled softly against her lips but it dissolved under the intensity of their kiss, knocking the breath from them. Their kisses grew more desperate as they longed to feel their skin against each others. She moaned when his lips trailed across her collarbone, his tongue soothing the gentle nip. She shivered when his fingers slipped between the lowest buttons on her shirt, her stomach flattening against his hand.
She slid the shirt off her shoulders, letting it pool on the bedroom floor. His eyes darkened almost immediately in response, dipping to the shadows of her cleavage. He dropped his head to place a kiss between her breasts. She arched her back as he brushed the tips of his thumbs against the sensitive peaks, gently cupping them. She moved to straddle him more fully, her tongue sliding between his.
She fumbled with the buttons on his shirt, kissing her way down his chest as they leaned back onto the bed. The rest of their clothes ended up in a pile by the side of the bed. He groaned when her fingers touched him, his body jumping in response.
“Shit, Anya.” His curse dissolved into a low moan, his hands tangling in her hair that now spilled around her shoulders. It took everything he had to stop her, gently tugging her up. She looked at him questioningly and he shook his head, smiling wryly.
“Not right now.” He said, flipping them over. Her eyes widened for a moment before they fluttered shut, his fingers sending heady warmth throughout her body. Her fingers curled into her palms, her hips lifting off of the bed as pleasure filled her.
He leaned over her, kissing her forehead before pressing his lips to hers. He lifted her onto him, her hair falling around his shoulders as her hips rocked forward. Her dark eyes looked directly into his, and he reached up, his fingers pushing her hair back gently.
Emotion flooded him, his fingers ghosting across the peak of her nose and down her lips as her eyes fluttered shut at his touch. Her skin was warm against his, her stomach rising and falling as she breathed. He almost wanted to run away from the intensity of his feelings, his pulse racing in his chest.
She stilled noticeably above him, concern and fear flitting across her face. He shook his head, swallowing the tightness in his throat as his fingers tangled in her hair.
“Anya, I…” His voice was hoarse, the tone behind her name filling the space of the words he couldn’t say.
She touched her forehead to his, their lips gently brushing together.
She leaned back and paused, adjusting herself against him. His fingers curled around her waist, raising her up as she found a rhythm. His hips thrust up to meet hers, their sighs and moans becoming one as they moved towards a crescendo, lingering in satisfied warmth.
Her eyes met his as she leaned over him, her skin pressed against his. The barriers between them slid away, angry words and shattered promises giving way to just them. Their lips melded together, fingers tangling together.
Song: Rehna Tu
Artist: A.R. Rahman, Benny Dayal, Tanvi Shah
Note: I hope you enjoyed it! After all the waiting for this… 😉 I recommend looking up the lyrics to this song (special shoutout to Twigs for this) to see why I liked it.
As always, I love reading your comments and would love to hear your feedback — especially on this one! Follow buttons are on the right, and if you find that you’re not receiving notifications, try unfollowing and refollowing. Alternatively, you can also follow me on Twitter @chotidesi.