Chapter Twenty Three


Jay and Anjani were now enjoying the starlight above their heads. It felt as if it was soon going to rain as there were a lot of clouds in the sky. Jay rests his head on his arm and looks up in the sky. Anjani wraps her arm around him resting her head on his chest. Jay wraps his arm around her waist, “You know Anu, It’ll rain soon and I’d miss sleeping up here for all those months. Since childhood I have loved sleeping under the sky. Every time there was it was close to rain Pari and I used to debate whether it’ll be raining at night or not. You know once I won the argument and we were sleeping under the sky when it decided to pour water upon us at 3 in midnight. Haha Pari was so mad at me. All out mattresses and pillows were drenched and we had to sleep on carpet for 2 days because it was all cloudy and these stuffed cotton inside beds were least interested in losing their water.” Jay smiles as he kisses Anjani’s hair. “Can I ask you something? If you don’t mind?” Anjani looks at him. “Yes, what happened?” Jay rubs her back gently with his other arm. “Who’s this Pari? I have heard quite a few times about her while being here with you guys but never had a chance to know. They way you and others talk about her make me feel like she was someone really important to all of you.”

“She was?”Jay gets startled a bit. “Yes, they way you all speak of her. It feels like she was there in your life deep but now nowhere to be seen. I didn’t see you calling her to dinners or talking on phone or video chat like khushi” Anu rests her head back on his chest. “ She is just on a year long work trip. She left her phone back home. While she left, she was mad at me. Maybe that’s the reason I can’t talk to her.” Jay takes a lock of her hair between his fingers and plays with it. “Is she your cousin or something?” Anjani was getting a bit curious about mystery girl in Jay’s life who everyone else knows about except her.

“No she’s my childhood best friend and neighbour.” Jay chuckles at her question. “Oh I’m sorry, I know nothing about her so I just had some assumptions.” She pecks Jay’s lips and sleeps back again. “Haha, well If I knew mentioning her would get me a kiss then I would’ve done that long back.” Jay chuckles as she hits playfully at his chest. “She was more than just a friend to me…” “More than friend?” She interrupts before he could finish his sentence.

“Yes anu, She was my best friend. So close that it felt like she was a part of family. Ma and Pa used to treat her as their own daughter. Often Ma used to be at her side.”Jay smiles thinking about sweet old memories. “Then why did she leave? You said she was mad at you? What did you do that made her leave?” Her curiosity was now piked and she wanted her answers. “Well I didn’t make her leave. She’s on a work trip. She was chosen by WHO for their medical campaign in remote areas of the world. It might take a year or more.” “Oh...So how did you made her mad?” She had stories building up in her mind now. “We never used to keep secrets from each other but I did once fearing she’d freak out.” Anjani gets up and sits. “I was worried that she’d freak out if I told her I was dating someone. To be specific my boss’ daughter who was my colleague.” Jay gets up and rests his head in her lap.

“Why do you think she’d freak out? She is your best friend right? She’d understand you chose a partner that you liked and wanted to be around with?” She plays with his hair. “Well, She’s always been all protective and possessive about me. She was never like that when we were kids. She used to team up with other kids around me and often used to prank me. But her behaviour was changed drastically when she was back after finishing her degree. She was now grown into this possessive and protective girl. She was indeed a bit bully as a kid too but this avatar was quite new and weird for me. But soon it began to feel all normal I don’t know why. For a change it was good that I had to no longer worry about her pranks for the time being.”

Jay looks at Anjani who was deep in thoughts. “Hey? Are you listening?” Jay touches her cheek as she startles up a bit. ‘Yes, I was just thinking about you and her as kids. She has a deep connection with you indeed. But I was wondering why would she be mad at you for just keeping a secret from her?” I wonder if it’s what he is saying or something more to that? But why would he lie about her?  “Well, was often motherly figure as per Hitesh who still used to tease me because of her being so protective about me.” Jay air quotes the words as he tries to emphasize the fact that he was a bit annoyed but that behaviour of her at times.

“Hmm… but it is still weird that she’d react this way just for a secret. Like it is normal for you to get a date. You are so handsome, independently earning, sweet and better than most guys I’ve ever dated.” She kisses his forehead. Unless she was into him, she wanted to keep him for herself. “Jay?....” “Hmm…?” “You are sure she was just your best friend? Did she tell you about something else?” Jay gets up and looks at her. “No and I think we should sleep. It’s getting late. I have to go to office early tomorrow”. He leans close in for a peck and then sleeps.

Anjani smiles at him and lies down. But inside her heads there were thoughts about what Jay had said. She was wondering if what she is thinking is correct or not. She shakes her head and turns to look at Jay who was now fast asleep like a baby. She suddenly felt all possessive and worried about him. She gets up and kisses his forehead and cuddles him. Suddenly she feels his arm being wrapped around her waist and she looks up to see a smile on his face. All of sudden that insecurity vanished in thin air and she lays her head on his chest with a smile on her face. She hugs him tight and tries to sleep.

It was for a while or so but again she felt she heard Jay saying something. She carefully looks at him. Jay was muttering something in his sleep. She tries to listen to know what was he murmuring in his sleep. “No...don’t go pari…. Don’t leave me alone like this.” He was muttering her name. It wasn’t first time when Jay was talking in his sleep and mentioning Parnika. She sleeps back hugging him tightly as he snuggles close to her in sleep. She couldn’t sleep the whole night thinking about Jay and Parnika. She felt something was there which Jay wasn’t telling her. Her instincts said something else while she didn’t wanted to agree with them. She wanted to keep Jay to herself.

 But what if She really likes him? Doesn’t matter I love him too and he loves me. But the way he talks about her in sleep, what if he loves her more than you? What if he doesn’t love you at all? No,no, no…. She shakes her head and tries to focus her thoughts so she can sleep. But the way he talks about her and the way he said she reacted to him seeing someone. But why would he date someone else if he really likes Pari? Maybe he’s not aware about his feelings yet? Maybe she was waiting for the same? If that’s the case, what would I do? Let him go to Parnika? Or be selfish and keep him just for me? No, I can’t be that selfish. After baba’s death, he’s the one who brought me out from depression and cared for me. I can’t be so mean to him. But I can’t let him be with someone else too. What should I do?

Thoughts like these plague her mind throughout the night. She just lies in comfort of Jay’s arms and tries to distract horrible thoughts that were entering her mind.

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