Monday, 29 January 2018

part 6 : Look Closer (Arsh)


Shilpa struggled to bring Armaan into his room from the car. Her petite figure carried the tall, muscular load with an arm around his waist and his arm around her shoulder. Shilpa tried to wake him up but all he did was whine and turn the other way. She had to agree that he looked cute when he grumbled in the car; she even let out a giggle at his antics. As Shilpa prepared to lay him on the bed, she wasn't able to control Armaan's weight and she fell right on top of him. She felt his arms wrap around her waist and lock themselves. She brought her head up and saw Armaan's eyes still shut. She turned her head and saw his hands fastened on her lower back. She tried to free herself from his hold but it was tight.


    "Armaan" Shilpa softly said, hoping he would wake up. She called his name a few more times but it wasn't working. She decided to shake him a little bit, but it was difficult because of her position. She brought her hand up to his shoulder and shook it ever so slightly. She looked up at his face, he looked so peaceful. She tried shaking him again and noticed his face scrunch up with annoyance. Shilpa looked over at the side table at noticed it was almost 9 o'clock. She knew she needed to get home. She had classes in the morning. But it was impossible with Armaan's hold on her. She brought her hand to her back and tried to unlock his hands. Armaan stirred in his sleep and pulled her over himself and onto the bed, tightening his hold. Lying on his side he pulled her closer to his chest. "Don't leave me..." Shilpa heard him mumble near her ear. Shilpa found it useless to struggle; it only made the hold stronger. She figured he'd let go at some point in the night and she would move away then, so for now, she closed her eyes and drifted off.

      As the sun peaked into the room, Shilpa awakened to a room that wasn't hers. She laid there and quickly realized she was still in Armaan's bed. When she tried to get up, she was pulled back. She felt warm breathes on her neck and realized she was still held by Armaan. Shilpa turned herself around. She didn't realize that she was lying so close; their faces a mere two inches apart. "Armaan, wake up." Shilpa bit her lip, worrying that she'd be late for her classes because of Armaan. "Armaan." She saw his eyes slowly opening, adjusting to the light. When he saw Shilpa lying in front of him, Armaan smiled shutting his eyes once again. "Armaan.. I need to go home. Wake up." Armaan squinted his eyes and saw her still there. His eyes shot open and he comprehended that she was actually there in his bed. He pulled back a little bit and looked at her sleepily.

            "What are you doing here?" He yawned as he finished his question. "Umm... well you didn't wake up when we reached my house so I decided that I'd come drop you off." She saw Armaan's mouth turn into and 'O' shape. She continued, "And then when I was laying you on the bed I fell over. I tried to get up but you didn't let go." She looked up at him and saw him chuckling nervous. "Sorry..." He smiled apologetically. "It's ok." Shilpa looked down waiting for him to let go of her so she could get up. "You go wait outside, I'll go freshen up and drop you off in a bit." He didn't see her shift at all. "I know my bed is comfortable, but you need to get to school!" She looked up at him and then pointed down to her waist. Armaan looked down and realized why she didn't move. "Oh... whoops!" He pulled his hands away and watched her exit the room.



            Armaan walked out of the bathroom and saw Shilpa standing in front of the mirror messing around with her hair. An irritated Shilpa shuffled her hair one way and then another; not content with the way it kept turning out.



            Armaan walked over to her and stood behind her. He looked at her through the mirror and she paused when she noticed him. Armaan snaked his arm around her waist and pulled her back against his chest. "Armaan... what are you doing?" Shilpa breathing became erratic as she stiffened in his hold. His tepid breath against her bare neck made her shut her eyes. He brought his finger to the side of face, near her temple, and then slowly brought it down the length of her neck to her collarbone. He watched her chest rise and fall as her breathing became more sporadic. He leaned down and let his lips rest on the backside of her collarbone. "Armaan..." She let out his name in a soft, almost inaudible, voice. "Armaan..." He heard her say again.



            "Armaan!" He snapped back to reality when Shilpa yelled his name. "What were you thinking about with such a dreamy expression on your face?" Shilpa questioned him. She had been calling his name for a while now but he wasn't answering to her. Armaan looked at her baffled. What the hell was I thinking! Armaan smacked himself mentally. "Uhh.. I uhh..." Armaan tried to find words as he saw her observing his every move. Shilpa wasn't getting a response from him, so she decided to let it go. "Whatever, can you drop me home? I need to get ready." "Yea... yea, sure." Armaan quickly paced out of the room still mystified by the scene he had just thought up a few moments back. Shilpa watched him hurry from the room and the only thought in her mind was what the hell is wrong with him?



            When Shilpa waved at him and entered her house, Armaan let out a huge sigh and leaned into his seat. His thoughts were occupied by Shilpa, and only Shilpa. He didn't know why, but they were. He shut his eyes trying to clear his mind, but it was to no avail. Shilpa, Shilpa, Shilpa. He opened his eyes and turned his head to pull of the driveway.



Shilpa had quickly changed and reached the campus with only 10 minutes to spare before her class. She rushed in and found a seat near the front of the class. She reasoned that she would actually pay attention this time if she sat near the front. But, boy was she wrong. After class she looked down at her notes and not one line made sense to her. She sat there eating her lunch with her notebook in front of her. "Damn it, what's wrong with me." She murmured as she confused herself more trying to figure out what she wrote. She rested her head in her hands and shut her eyes. But they didn't stay closed for long, she immediately opened them again. "Shit yaar." She cursed after she saw Armaan's calm, sleeping face. "What the hell is wrong with me?!" She said a little too loudly. Shilpa noticed people turn their heads and look at her as if she's crazy. She finished her lunch and quickly gathered her things so she could rush to her next class.



Shilpa felt a little more satisfied when she actually walked out of class understanding what the professor had just discussed. It helped her make some sense of the other notes from earlier too. As Shilpa walked across campus to get to the parking garage she parked in, she remembered she had to pick up some forms at the medical college building to fill out and turn in. She changed her path and headed to the building instead.



"Hi, can I have the forms and the information about the medical school scholarship?" She asked the lady behind the desk. "Yes. Just give me one second." She walked into a cabinet filled room and grabbed some papers. "Here you are. Remember the deadline to apply is two months from now." Shilpa took the papers and thanked her before slowly walking to the door glancing through the forms. As she was about to turn the page she crashed into someone. "I'm so sorry; I should've been looking at where I was going." Shilpa backed away and fixed the crinkled papers in her hand. "Its ok." She looked up and saw a familiar face in front of her: Armaan. Am I losing my mind? "No, no, no, no...." She paced away thinking that she was imagining him in front of her. Armaan looked at her confused, but amused. She saw her sit down on the seat near the door holding her head. He gave the lady behind the counter some papers and then headed back to Shilpa.



"Shilpa." Armaan approached her only to find her still holding her head. "You aren't real. You aren't real." He could hear her mutter under her breath. Armaan became more amused. "Shilpa, look." He kneeled down in front of her. She lifted her head and looked at him. "Why is he still here?! Stop imagining Shilpa!" She talked to herself. "Shilpa, snap out of it! It's really me." He grabbed her shoulders and shook her slightly. She reached her hand out and touched his cheek. "You... are... real." He grabbed her hand and chuckled, "Yes, I'm real. Are you feeling alright?" Armaan asked her with a concerned voice. "Shilpa jumped out of her seat and walked to the door, "No! I'm not fine!" Armaan became more stumped and ran behind her. "Shilpa, wait! At least talk to me!" She continued to run away. She needed to relax, but she couldn't! It was the last thing that she was able to do. Armaan followed behind her getting frustrated at the fact she wasn't stopping and talking to him.



Armaan grabbed her upper arm and pulled her back to himself. His anger subsided when he turned her around and saw tears down her face. "Why are you crying?" He brought his fingers to her soft cheeks and wiped away the tears under both of her lowered, beady eyes. She just softly whimpered in response. He walked her over to a table nearby under a tree and sat her down next to him. He let her cry. He knew she would talk when she was ready. A few minutes passed before he didn't hear anything but a few sniffles. Shilpa turned to him and saw him fretfully gazing at her. "I'm just so confused! I'm imagining things, I can't pay attention in class, and whenever I try to relax I can't!" Armaan listened intently. He's seen her have these breakdowns before, but never has she cried during one. He knew she needed him right now. "I'm just so stressed out and confused!" He pulled her into a hug and soothed her by running his hand through her soft, silky hair. "I know where you need to go." He stood up and took her hands into his. "Come on." Shilpa took one hand back and wiped the tears resting in her eyes. "But Armaan, I still have one more class..." Armaan saw her fretted face. "Skipping one class won't kill you. What happened to the rebellious Shilpa?" "I guess... but what about my car?" She posed another question. "We'll take your car then." "But Armaan, what about your..." Armaan placed his finger on her lips, "My car will be sitting here on campus waiting for me to come back and get it, ok?" She nodded in return, "Anymore buts?" She shook her head no. "Ok, then let's go."



He held her hand and they walked to her car. Armaan occasionally glanced over at her every once in a while. He didn't like this Shilpa. She was too quiet. Way too quiet. She liked the perky and bubbly Shilpa. After a minute drive they arrived at the location. "Armaan? Where did you bring me?" She held the hand he had placed on top of her eyes when she stepped out of the car. "You'll see." Armaan led her through the trees and over some small rocks. Armaan held her hand making sure she didn't fall on the rocks. "Armaan.. where are we going?" "Almost there, Shilpa." After a couple minutes Armaan told her to sit down. He kneeled behind her and placed his head on the side of her head, his hand still covering her eyes. "Ready?" He felt her head nod beside his. "Hmm." He slowly moved his hand away from her eyes and watched her eyelids lift open.



"This place is beautiful Armaan." She looked around her to see herself perched on a small ridge that overlooked a beautiful blue lake. The light splashing of water below soothed her soul and the gentle breeze calmed her mind instantly. She hung her feet over the edge and let the water tease the bottoms of her feet. She leaned back onto Armaan, finally feeling calm. He felt her relaxing, so he too, sat down beside her and let his feet dangle in the water below. "Thanks Armaan." She turned her head and looked up at him as he smiled in return. "When did you find this place?" "Remember when I went on that camping trip the year I met you?" He saw her nod affirmatively. "Well, let's just say I wandered off one night after curfew and ended up here." He leaned back with the support of his arms behind him.



Shilpa leaned onto him, "I'm glad you wandered off that night then." As soon as her back hit his chest, he let his arms fall and the support was gone. "Gosh Shilpa, what have you been eating? You've gotten so heavy!" Armaan joked trying to lighten up the atmosphere between the two. Shilpa gaped with her eyes and mouth wide open. "How dare you!" Armaan's lips were taken by a huge grin seeing her back to her normal self. Well, normal to him at least. She smacked him repeatedly on his shoulder, offended by what he said. Armaan grabbed her hand to stop the hitting, "I'm glad to see you back to your angry self." A smile appeared on Shilpa's face as she snatched her hand from his hold. Since she moved a little forward during the incident, Armaan sat up and moved behind taking advantage of the situation. "Shilpa look at that!" He pointed off into the distance at nothing in particular. "Look at what Armaa- AHHH!" Before she finished, Armaan pushed her into the lake. Armaan sat on the very edge laughing at her. "Jerk!" She stood with her hands on her hips looking up at Armaan laughing. She strode over to him and pulled his leg making him fall into the water too.



"Who's laughing now?" She pouted her lips and watched him examining himself. He looked up to see the cutest sight ever. Her hair on her face, pouted lips, her green-eyed glare, and on top of that her hands placed on her hips. He made his way closer to her and brought his hand to her face. Shilpa's angry face turned into one filled with puzzlement. She watched his hand reach up to her face. The moment he touched her face, she felt a chill run down her spine. She froze where she was standing watching Armaan move away the few strands of hair that stuck to her face. His hand lingered on her cheek as he moved his gaze to her eyes. And for the first time, she felt a connection between them. She didn't know what it was, but it was there. His grey eyes bore into her green ones. He moved closer to her and her hands found support by grabbing the sides of his shirt near his waist. "Shilpa" He whispered with a husky voice. Shilpa again felt shivers down her spine when she heard him call her name. But it was enough to make her break the gaze between them. She looked away and he too came back to reality.



"Umm... I think we should go." She moved her eyes to him and saw him ruffle his hair. "Yea..." Shilpa reached the edge where Armaan pushed her down and tried to climb back up. Her wet foot slipped off the rock and she fell right into Armaan's arms. He placed her feet down onto the ground and she began to climb again. Armaan saw her struggling and quickly grabbed her waist before she fell again. She turned her head slightly to see Armaan gazing up at her with a small smile on his lips. Once she was back on the ridge, Armaan hoisted himself back up next to her. "Shall we go?" Shilpa nodded in approval so Armaan began to walk back the way they came from. Shilpa quietly followed behind him.

-------

Sam

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