Friday, 15 December 2017

Arsh One Shot :It's Never Too Late




"I love her, man."

"What?!"

"I love her, Rahul."

"Armaan, you idiot! You know she's leaving today  right?!"

"Yea..." He sighed, "That's what made me realize it."

"Why are you sitting here?! Go after her! Don't just sit there and get comfortable!"


"What's the point, she's leaving. Not like she's gonna cancel her flight." He sarcastically remarked while leaning back on the beanbag, letting his head hang back. "I doubt she loves me back anyways..."

"Dude! What is your problem! You're so oblivious!" Rahul yelled. "She's crazy about you!"

"No she's not..." Armaan tried to deny him.

"She thinks about you non-stop and you're all she talks about when I'm with her! You can ask anyone from our gang man, when you talk to her she has that bright smile and looks truly happy. Her eyes lighten up at the sight of you!" Rahul explained. "I know you rarely were ever nice to her but when you were, it made her melt! Even when you tease the heck out of her she doesn't show how much it bothers her. Even when you do things that annoy her, all those pranks, she says nothing. If you did the same things to me I would've probably wacked you.  Do you know why she says nothing, Armaan?" He pointed his finger at him, putting him on the spot. Armaan just looked back with narrowed eyes trying to comprehend everything Rahul had said. "I'll tell you why: She refuses, and I mean refuses to see any flaws in you. You should hear some of the crap people have tried to tell her about you. She doesn't believe an ounce of it! For her, you're perfect." His tone started out loud but by the end it was much quieter. "She's too f**kin' scared to tell you any of this because she doesn't want to mess up the so-called relationship you both have, which I don't even know what to call! It's already happened to her once before with some other nutcase and she didn't want for it to happen again with you." Rahul sighed as he kneeled down in front of Armaan. "I promised her I wouldn't tell you all this, but I have to! I can't see her unhappy again knowing that you feel the same way about her." Armaan looked down at his fiddling thumbs and thought for a moment.

"You're lying." Armaan remained stubborn.

"You've got to be kidding me Armaan! I've known her since she was in diapers! She tells me everything. If you don't believe me who are you going to believe?!" Rahul screamed in Armaan's face. Rahul watched Armaan turn his head and look at the floor. "You know what?" Rahul stood up, shaking his head. "Fine, don't do anything. You don't deserve her anyways." He grabbed his jacket resting on the chair and headed toward the door to leave.

"Where are you going?" Armaan asked in a monotone voice.

"To say bye to her." Rahul exited and slammed the door behind him. Armaan snapped his head back around to how it was before; a million things running through his mind. He took a deep breath closing his eyes and swallowing the lump in his throat before shooting up off the beanbag. He grabbed his car keys from the table and ran out the door.

**

"Shilpa, are you ready?"

"Yea..." She said closing the last bag. "Just gonna make a quick look around. I'll meet you down in a bit."

"Are you okay? Your voice sounds so.. lost." Shilpa gave a small smile as she looked down.

"I'm fine, it's just... I'm gonna miss being here." Shilpa looked up at her best friend and roommate for the past four years of her college life. "And I'm especially gonna miss you and our crazy late nights, Muskaan." Shilpa walked up to her and gave her a side hug.

"I'll miss you too!" She hugged her back. "I'll meet you in the lobby."

Shilpa nodded and watched Muskaan leave with two of her bags. As soon as the door was shut, Shilpa turned her head and slowly walked around the apartment that Muskaan and her had rented after their first year in college. Each room had a different memory for her. They would all be cherished; Whether it was Muskaan's parties, late night talks, dinner with friends, or... of him. She sighed remembering everything. Making her way back to the living room, she lifted the bag of the couch and walked to the door. Looking over her shoulder with her hand on the light switch, she let out a sigh and flicked the light off and left. She quietly walked down the hall and entered the elevator, hitting the button for the ground floor.

"Here are the keys Muskaan." Shilpa forwarded her hand to her. "Where's Rahul? Is he meeting us here or at the airport?"

"I don't know where he is. I told him to meet us here at 4." She glanced down at her studded watch that Shilpa had given her for her birthday. "It's still five till 4." Shilpa nodded and played with her fingers, looking down at the floor. "Shilpa, are you sure you're okay?"

"I'm fine, Muskaan! I told you why I'm a little down; I'm just going to miss everyone..." Shilpa said trying to bring some enthusiasm into her voice.

"More like miss Armaan..." Muskaan muttered.

"Muskaan..." Shilpa softly whined, pleading for her to not make a big deal.

"Hey!" Rahul greeted them with a hug. "Ready to go?" Shilpa nodded and looked over Rahul's shoulder hoping she would see the one person she really wanted to. Rahul followed her gaze and gave a quick glance at Muskaan before turning to Shilpa once again. "Umm... he's not coming." He broke the news to her. He could see the hope that filled her eyes a few seconds ago quickly wash away as she took her gaze off the door and back down to the floor where her bag laid.

"Let's go. I don't want to be late." Shilpa murmured as she grabbed her bag and began to walk to the sliding doors. Muskaan and Rahul quietly followed behind her.

"Hey Shilpa! It was fun getting to know you! I'm gonna miss you!" A girl ran up to her and gave a hug. Shilpa smiled and returned the hug.

"I'll miss you too, Nathalie!"

"Hey! What about me?" One of her other friends walked up behind Nathalie.

"Of course I'll miss you too Aaron!" She gave him a quick hug.

"Keep in touch! You have my number right?" Nathalie exclaimed.

"I do. And I'll be sure to call you as soon as I reach home." Shilpa told her bringing a smile on her face.

"You better!" She faked a pout and pointed a finger at Shilpa.

"Listen, I have to go. Can't miss my flight. Bye!" Shilpa gave them both a quick hug and picked up her bag once again and started to walk. When they reached outside Rahul led them to where he had parked his car and they loaded Shilpa's bags in the back.

**

Armaan flew his car door open and sprinted towards the building. The doors slid open and Armaan stopped looking around. He glanced at his watch: five past 4. His gaze moved left and right. He spotted one of Shilpa's friends sitting in the lobby with her other friends and ran to her.

"Nathalie!"

"Hey Armaan, what's up?"

"Shilpa..." Armaan said catching his breathe. "Where is she?"

"Oh, she left! You like, just missed her." Nathalie informed him.

"Shit!" Armaan said turning around running his hands through his hair. Armaan looked at Nathalie, "Thanks!" he quickly mumbled before breaking into a sprint; running out of the lobby and to his car. He started his car and pulled it out of the parking lot. He pulled onto the highway and pressed the accelerator, slowly increasing his speed.

"I'm not letting you go anywhere."

*****

"Muskaan! Stop crying!" Shilpa scolded her.

"I can't!" She wiped the tears away that just kept spilling. "I'm really going to miss you!" Shilpa sighed and pulled her into another tight hug.

"It's not she's going away forever." Rahul said.

"Easy for you to say," Muskaan turned to him with a pout. "You'll be right next door to her in a week when you go back too." Rahul just shrugged, not knowing what to say.

"Muskaan, you can come visit! In fact, you better come visit me!" Shilpa told her authoritatively. Muskaan simply nodded and wrapped her arm around her once again.

"You should start heading in to your gate." Rahul told her, glancing down at his watch. "Your flight is probably arriving right now." Shilpa nodded and gave one last tight hug to Muskaan and Rahul before heading through the security. Once through, she turned around and waved one last time before picking up her bag and walking down to her gate. She found an open seat and sat down. There was still some time before boarding started so she started playing with her phone. She started going through the pictures on it. Most were of Muskaan, Rahul and herself; but she stopped and stared at one picture.

"Armaan." His name escaped her lips in a whisper and she shut her eyes holding back the tears forming. She quickly wiped away a lone tear that had escaped and looked up after shutting her phone off. A little boy watched her from across his seat and she smiled at him. He jumped off the seat and walked towards her. His mother was too busy reading a magazine to notice.

"What's wrong?" He asked in a concerned voice. Shilpa just shook her head indicating that nothing bothered her. "But I saw you cry." Shilpa sighed hearing him. "You know, you shouldn't stop from crying."

"Why?" Shilpa leaned forward and looked at him.

"My mama said that, people have to cry out all their tears to make room for a heart full of smiles. Sharing it helps too." He said in a childish voice. Shilpa smiled at his innocence.

"Well your mother is right." Shilpa pinched his cheeks gently.

"So what's wrong then?" He questioned once again.

"Lots of things are wrong." Shilpa said in a whisper. "In simple words though, let's just say it's hard to love someone who doesn't even like you." Her voice drifted into a whisper once again as she finished her sentence. He pouted and spread his arms out while walking closer. When he was close enough he stood on his toes and gave Shilpa a hug. Shilpa wrapped her hands around his tiny body as well. As he pulled away he planted a kiss on Shilpa's cheek.

"But you're so sweet and beautiful. Why wouldn't he love you?"

"I don't know." Shilpa shrugged and smiled at him.

"He doesn't deserve you then." He said before turning around and returning to his seat after his mother called him. Shilpa couldn't help but sigh. She slumped back in her chair and shut her eyes, resting her mind for a while.

*****

"There's an open table." Rahul gestured toward a table a few feet away. They figured they'd grab something to eat at the airport while they were there before heading back home. They sat down and started to eat. Muskaan grabbed her drink and began to take a sip when she noticed a familiar face behind Rahul.

"Is that Armaan?" She placed her drink down and pointed behind him. Rahul turned in his seat and looked to where she pointed and was left confused.

"Yea..." He said.

"I thought you said he wasn't coming." Muskaan reminded him.

"That's what I thought too," He murmured as he turned around. They saw him jogging back and forth as if he was looking for someone. He talked to one of the airport employees and ended up heading in their direction. Rahul got up from his seat and stop him as he passed by the cafe they were at.

"Yo, what are you doing here man?" Rahul asked him.

"Later Rahul." Armaan said and tried to keep going but Rahul pulled him back.

"Dude, where are you going?" Armaan looked right back at Rahul.

"I have to stop her." He spoke with a determined voice before rushing away.

*****

"Boarding for flight AX32 will begin shortly. Please have your boarding pass and passport out and ready."

The announcement caused Shilpa to open her eyes. She reached into her purse and pulled out her boarding pass and passport before standing up and getting into the line that was forming. Her eyes constantly wandered to the entrance of the gate area, just wishing for what seemed impossible. One by one, the passengers filed onto the plane and Shilpa's turn quickly neared.

"Boarding pass and passport, M'am." Shilpa forwarded her hand to the man but the contents of it were quickly pulled away by a third person. Shilpa, as well as the man, looked up at who it was. As soon as Shilpa's gaze met with his soft voice made its way to her ears.

"You can't leave."

"But Armaan, it too-" She was pulled out of the line before she could finish. Shilpa turned around and saw that the man continued on with the other passengers. She turned back around to face Armaan who continued to bore his eyes into hers.

"Why didn't you tell me?" His voice croaked as he asked her.

"Tell you what?" Shilpa questioned back avoiding his gaze.

"Everything," He pulled her closer, "Everything you told Rahul." Shilpa's eyes shot up at him, widened with shock. "He told me everything, Shilpa." Armaan whispered holding her face in his hand. Shilpa placed her hands on his chest and pushed him away.

"I didn't tell him anything." She grabbed her passport and boarding pass from his hand and turned to leave.

"Why are you lying?" Armaan pulled her back to himself.

"Leave my hand, Armaan." She struggled to release herself from his hold. Shilpa felt the tears return in her eyes.

"Shilpa, stop it!" He grabbed her by the shoulders with both hands and shouted in her face. Her eyes shut tighter at the sound of his voice. "Just stop." He whispered when she slowly opened her eyes. "This is what you  wanted, didn't you?" He shook her slightly. "Why are you running from it now?" His pained voice mumbled. She silently looked back at him.

"Leave me Armaan." Shilpa whispered trying to look away. She couldn't answer his question when she didn't even have an answer for herself.

"No." Armaan said with unwavering determination. "Answer my question."

"M'am, will you be boarding?" Shilpa turned her head and looked at the man as she continued to struggle with Armaan's firm hold.

"Yes." "No." Shilpa and Armaan respectively said to him. Armaan turned her head back around to face him.
"I want an answer Shilpa." Her silence persisted so Armaan leaned down and pecked her lips. "Stay." He whispered against them before kissing her once again.

"This is your last chance to board, M'am." Shilpa tried to push him away so she could board but Armaan held onto her.

"Stay." He repeated in a whisper once again. Her eyes remained locked with his, searching for assurance from him. "I love you." He spoke as if reading her mind. Shilpa immediately wrapped her arms around him and soon felt his warm arms embrace her as well.

"I love you too." She mumbled against his chest.

"M'am, we're closing the door." She pulled away from him and looked at her boarding pass. She held it in front of her and tore it into pieces. She looked up at Armaan who stood there with the widest smile on his face that she'd ever seen which made her smile too. She stood on her toes trying to kiss him but he was too tall. Armaan stood there chuckling at her attempts.

"I hate how tall you are." She whined when she saw him laugh at her. Armaan kissed her forehead and smiled down at her.

"There's an advantage to it, trust me."

"What could that be?" Shilpa asked confused, resting her head on his chest.

"Whenever I hug you, you can hear my heart which only beats for you." He felt her smile against his chest and couldn't help but smile back.


Sam

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