Chapter Twenty Seven


Parnika walks into her room shutting the door behind her. She jumps on the bed. She pulls a pillow close and embraces it tightly resting her head on the wall and looking outside the window thinking about her life. It was their last week and soon they’d be off back to their own places. They’ll be off again on a journey, back to their own nests. As a way to thank the team for being so supportive and give them some time to relax after all the work that they had done, the administration decided to gift them a relaxing opportunity in a resort.

Being the last week of the program the team was so exhausted that they desired nothing more than rest at the moment. Most of them were already deep asleep in the bus having no clue of where they are at the moment. Suddenly, the bus comes to a halt and there’s an announcement. An old man dressed in shorts and a hat comes up, “There’s one last task before we all bid ade`iu to each other.” Most faces droop listening to it. “Since you have touched so many lives during this year, we in the administration wanted to give you a returning or thanking gift to all of you. So, your task is to relax yourself and enjoy the week here at the blue palm resort”.

Whoots and claps fill the bus waking up their friends who had been napping all the way along. The bus starts moving towards a huge gate which felt like they were entering some nature reserve. A little ride for a while and the bus halts at the gate of a huge resort. The view leaves most of them in awe by its beauty. It was a surprise from the council and a way to thank the team for their hard work and determination. They had been working in these difficult conditions for a long time now. It was a nice way to let them relax and enjoy a bit before they head back home taking all the memories from the trip.

“Wow! I am just going to sleep for rest of the week and if I am not sleepy, you’d find me in this pool.” Gemma raises her hand stretching herself after a long bus ride pointing at the large pool nearby as they walked by the gates. “I am thinking the same gemmy.” Parnika high fives her as they carry their bags to their respective rooms. Clara walks close to Jake and tries to hold his hand as Jake smiles at her and extends his hand to pick her bag thinking she wanted his help with luggage.

A lot had changed during this one year and everyone was could see there were a lot of bondings brewing between this whole group. There were deep bonds of friendship, rivalry and sweet romance brewing between a few chosen ones.

It took a few hours of settling down in their rooms to get surroundings calm and silent again. It was february and the month of romance had affected most including Jake who walks towards Parnika’s room. He knocks on the door as there’s a voice from inside, “It’s open, come in!” Jake opens the door and walks to find Parnika on her bed with laptop on her lap. It felt as if she had been crying but there was weirdly a smile on her face. He sits beside on the bed and places his hand over hers. “Is everything okay? You seem a bit off.” He was worried about her as he could clearly see the dried tears on her cheeks and eyes puffed up. “Yeah, its okay. Just was going through old pictures thinking, how I am going to miss all of you.” She tries to wipe off tears with her arm. She closes the laptop and places it back on charging. “Really? You can share anything with me.” Jake assures her as she shrugs and gets off the bed. “I’m fine Jake. It’s just that you all are now close like a family to me now. Once I am back to India, who knows when we will see each other again?” She picks up a red and yellow sundress that Jake had gifted her for the birthday. “Wanna hangout tonight? I am bored sitting alone in the room. Gemmy is busy video calling her fiance and Clara wants to sleep as she’s tired from the trip.” She walks towards the bathroom. “Yep sure, you get changed, I’ll wait for you down in lobby.” Jake gets up and walks out.

She wants to hangout? With me? That’s something new! Wish I could know what’s in her mind. Usually she wants me to let her be alone in the room. It’s always been a tough task just to get out of the room. Maybe relaxing climate of resort changed her mind? Or is it something else? Well I am better don’t get raising my hopes. It’s just a week and after this I don’t know if i’d be able to see her again. Ah man this sucks! He moves hands through his hand and lets out a sigh.

“How do I look?” Parnika walks towards Jake who was waiting for her in the Hotel lobby. Jake’s eyes rolled checking her out from head to toe. A huge smile over this face and a sparkle in his eye. “You look amazing!” He gets up from the couch. “Thanks!” Parnika smiles at him with flushed cheeks. “Let’s go then, shall we?” Jake extends hand towards her. She thinks for a while as memories of Jay holding her hand taking her out flashes against her eyes. She shakes her head and grabs Jake’s hand as they walk out.

It was the last day of their stay in the hotel. Parnika is already up in her bed sipping her morning coffee while reading a book.The beaming rays of sun shine over her eye as the golden red hue fills the sky. She had been up all night reading the book that Jake had gifted her last night while they had been hanging out together. Everyone had been gifting each other something as it’ll be their last day after being toiling together for a whole year.

Parnika had decided to gift Gemma a nice dress as her wedding was coming up soon a few months later. For Clara she had decided to gift her the latest model of her favourite smart watch that she’d been saving up for all this time. It was quite expensive but worth the memories that they had lived together. But she hadn’t got anything for Jake yet. She had been noticing Jake behaving quite different around her. Is it what Gemma thinks? Oh no, no, no… I like him but it’s just friendship. I don’t wanna break his heart. She opens up the laptop and starts searching for some gifts that she could give him.

She gets a list of the bookstores nearby and calls them to see if they have a copy of the book. There was one store which was inside the resort premises. She decided to gift Jake a book which was a sequel to his favourite book that he had given her to read last night. She had finished the book overnight and had loved it. I am sure he’ll love this. She looks at the book cover on her laptop screen as she dials up the number. Luckily the store was open right now due to some repairing work and the owner was ready to deliver it to her room. It was a lucky day indeed.

Jake had been just out from shower when he hears a knock on the door. “Who’s it?” He shouts quickly putting on his pants throwing the wet towel on the bed. “It’s me, Parnika.” Listening to the voice he calms down and heads to open the door. “Oh come on in.” He opens the door as Parnika obstructs her vision by bringing the book in front of her eyes. “Get dressed first buddy”. Jake sheepishly smiles as quickly slides a tee over his bare torso. “Sorry! I was just out of shower.” Jake rubs back of his head as Parnika brings down the gift looking at him. “What brings you her early in the morning?” He picks the wet towel from the bed. “Oh, I just wanted to return the book you lended me yesterday.” She hands him the book. “Seems you spent the whole night reading this eh?” Jake gestures at her eyes which had now dark circles and were drowsy.

“Yes! Anyway, do you wanna hangout somewhere? It’s the last day of us together. I want to spend it with my team.” She smiles at him as he shakes his head. “Yes, we will be I think you should sleep first. We will get you at noon. I don’t want anyone to say I sent the angel from my team back like a zombie.” Parnika playfully hits Jake as he makes a fake hurt expression. “See ya later…” She smiles walking out. “See ya later too…” Jake closes the door thinking about life without her.

Jake and Parnika had grown really close during last few months. He was the best friend she had after Jay. But fate had something else in the mind for them. Jake had developed feelings for her. Jake was well aware of Parnika’s thoughts about Jay. He had controlled his feelings all this time but a few months back something had changed. Jake was waiting for Parnika in the hotel lobby but she didn’t show up for an hour. Jake, who was now worried, headed towards her room to find her door open. She was on her bed with her face dug in pillow crying. Khushi had informed her Jay’s plan about proposing Anjani on the valentine’s day.

She had cried whole night that day. He had never seen her so depressed and hopeless until that day. He cheered her up somehow and next day it was weird. It felt as if nothing had happened just a few hours back. He thought she had finally decided to move on from her crush. He wanted to ask her about it but he decided not to pull the cat out of the bag. He didn’t want to hurt her and remind her of the incident again. Since then, Parnika had been more friendly towards Jake. She at times even flirted back with Jake. Everything was going really good so far.

Jake picks the phone and dials for Gemma’s room. “Hey gem, I need your help” Jake blurts as Gemma picks up quickly. “What’s up? Is everything okay?” She was the only one who could help Jake at this moment. Gemma was the closest one to Parnika from the team. “It’s our last day today. I was thinking if I could….”

“You want to ask Parnika out on a date?”

“How did you know that?”

“It’s quite evident Jakey, your cheeks are always red when we are talking about her. Anyway, so what’s your plan?”

“Uhm, nothing as of now. That’s why I need your help. I want to make this night super special for her.”

“Calm down boy! Well let me think what can we do…. Uhm, you can take her to the cruise dinner tonight?”

“But I want to keep it a surprise. Won’t that be quite an obvious guess?”

“Oh no, trust me. I have a plan in mind. You book a table for two and it’s my job to get her on the cruze. Also, be there on time.”

“You are angel gem! Thanks a lot! “

“Haha save the thanks for later boy!”

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