Wednesday, 11 July 2018

part 2 : Unforgivable (Arsh mini ff)

I looked at myself in the mirror. The mere sight of my disheveled appearance sickened me. Hair a mess. Lip color smeared across my left cheek. The tops of my cheeks stained with black tears because of my mascara. My eyes made their way down my body. Marks on my neck. Sleeves torn. The neckline stretched by his pulling. I didn't want to look further. The state of the top half of my body was enough to create fresh tears in my eyes. I didn't know what to feel. Depressed, angry or a combination of both? I don't know.

     I could still feel his touch. On my lips, neck, everywhere. I brought my hand up and scrubbed. Scrubbed hard. Just wishing that the feeling would go away. I rubbed my lips aggressively. I could still feel his on mine. He pressed them on hard. I moved my hand down to my neck and scrubbed more. I scratched my arms getting rid of the top layer of my skin. The sensation of his touch wouldn't disappear. I flipped on the faucet to the hottest setting it could be. I pooled the boiling water in my hand and rubbed my face, neck and arms. It burned against my skin. His touch disappeared for a few seconds but as soon as the water cooled down it was back. I stripped away my clothing and rushed into the shower. I continued to scratch and scrub my skin away with the blistering hot water. Hoping, just hoping it would cure the horrid feeling of his touch on me. As the water poured down onto me, my tears were mixed with it and washed down the drain. I dropped to my knees and then eventually my whole body on the floor. I just cried. I didn't know what else I could do.

            "Shilpa?" There was knocking on the door. I recognized it to be Muskaan's voice. "Shilpa, are you ok? Why are you in the shower this late?" I sat up on the floor wondering why she was so concerned about me all of a sudden. "Shilpa?" She banged the door harder. I got up and turned the shower off. I grabbed one of the bath towels and wrapped it around my body. I gave my pathetic self another look before twisting the doorknob open. "Shilpa! What's wrong?" I pushed her aside. I didn't need her fake sympathy. "What do you care?" I went over and sat on my bed with my back facing her. I continued to scratch at the skin on my arms, irritated at the fact that it wouldn't go away. "What do you mean by 'what do you care?' Shilpa you're my best friend why wouldn't I care? I know I was mad but I'm over that now." She sat down next to me and pushed my hair away from my shoulder revealing my discolored neck. "What is this Shilpa?!" She grabbed my face and rotated it toward her so she could get a better look at the other side. I grasped her hand and pushed it away. The cold tears fell down my cheeks. I felt her pull me against her chest. "Shilpa, I know you don't want to talk about it right now. But whenever you are, I'll be here to listen." I sobbed into her shoulder and I heard her crying as well. I guess I was wrong about her. She did care.

            We didn't talk the rest of the night. Muskaan helped me change into a t-shirt and sweatpants. I lied down on her bed with her behind me. She placed an arm around my waist and hugged me close. I felt a little safe with her nearby. I didn't want to be near my bed. It just reminded me of what happened and I didn't want that. After a few minutes of lying there, I heard Muskaan's shallow breathing and knew she was asleep. For me it was a completely different story. Sleep was miles away. I lay there with my eyes wide awake staring at the wall in front of me. I thought and I thought. Who would want to do this to me? It's only been a week since I got back. And everyone who's known me before then, I'm on good terms with. So who would do this to me? It didn't make any sense. I glanced at the clock on the side table. 3:42 a.m... Thankfully tomorrow was the weekend. I didn't have to worry about not getting sleep. I turned my body to face Muskaan and saw her sleeping peacefully. I didn't feel like disturbing her, but I did anyways. I wanted to tell her.

            "Muskaan, wake up." I spoke softly as I shook her by the shoulder. "Shilpaaaa" She whined. "Muskaan I want to talk." That was enough to make her eyes shoot open. "I'm listening Shilpa." She grabbed my hand and gave it a squeeze encouraging me to continue while telling me that she cared at the same time. "I don't know what time it was. But it might have been around ten or eleven. I was studying on the computer until I heard a noise which sounded like it came from the living room. When I went to check, I didn't see anyone. Then the lights went out. I thought it was you trying to mess with me since you were mad." I looked at her watching me with her full attention. "But I was wrong. I heard footsteps behind me but when I turned there was no one. Then I heard a man. He started   touching me. I told him to stop but he didn't." I started to cry again. Muskaan pulled me closer to her and began to caress the back of my head. "And.. and then.. he... he..." I couldn't say the rest. Muskaan understood and hushed me. "Shhh... Shilpa." I stayed in her embrace for a long time. So long, that I didn't even realize I drifted to sleep.

            I awoke to the sound of Muskaan talking on the phone to someone. I rubbed my eyes trying to adjust to the light. I saw Muskaan hang up and come sit next to me. "Good morning, Shilpu" She took me into a hug which made me feel better. "Now go freshen up." She gave me a smile and then started to leave. "Muskaan" I called back to her. "Can you get me my things from my room?" I didn't want to go back in there and she understood that. I saw her nod and leave the room. It didn't take more than 2 minutes for her to return with my essentials. I took them from her hand and went into the bathroom. I quickly showered, changed and walked out drying my hair.  I stopped in front of the mirror to brush my hair. When I finished brushing, I looked up into the mirror and saw that my neck was still discolored. I brought my hand up and touched the sores. It hurt. Even the slightest touch. I ran to Muskaan's closet and grabbed one of her scarfs. I knew it wasn't that cold out, but I had to hide the marks. I wrapped it around my neck and brought my hair in front of my shoulders to cover the remaining marks.

            When I walked out of the room I saw Muskaan talking to someone dressed in a uniform. She saw me over the person's shoulder and gestured for me to come towards her. I slowly walked over and turned to face the woman. Police officer.  I reached for Muskaan's hand and held it tight. "Don't worry Shilpa." She whispered to me. "Meet Anjali Gupta, police officer and my friend. She specializes in these kinds of cases. Anjali, this is Shilpa." Anjali smiled at me, "Hi Shilpa. If you don't mind, can I ask you a few questions about the incident?" As much as I didn't want to talk about it, I knew that I had to. She sat me down next to her and pulled out a notepad and pen. I told her every detail that I remembered from the night before. And she wrote down everything I said. After about half an hour of questions and answers, Anjali asked me her last question, "Do you know anyone who would want something bad to happen to you? Any arguments with anyone?" I started to shake my head, but then stopped. "Well there's one person. But he wasn't even in the building when it happened. He was out with Muskaan." Muskaan walked in with some breakfast for me on a tray. "Who was with me?" She questioned after she only heard the last part. "Armaan." I told her. "Well, he was with me in the beginning. But then he disappeared saying he didn't feel well or something like that." I could tell Anjali became more interested by her change in expression. She flipped back through the pages, "Shilpa, you told me he had blue eyes right?" I nodded so she continued, "What color are Armaan's eyes?" The question was more for Muskaan than me. She spent more time with him. "His eyes are blue." "And around what time did he disappear from the party or club you were at?" Anjali probed further. "Umm... around 9:30 I think."

I sat there quietly as she continued to inquire about Armaan. Armaan. Could he really do this? My heart told me no. But my mind told me that he did. All the evidence was pointing to him. I was brought back from my thoughts when I felt someone take hold of my hands. I followed the arm up to see Anjali. "You don't worry. We'll figure this out. We have officers going through the building asking about anything suspicious from last night. And we'll definitely be looking at this Armaan character. He seems to be the prime suspect." I wanted to tell her Armaan didn't do it. I really did. But I couldn't bring myself to do it so I just nodded in response.

"Shilpa, you eat something. Anjali I need to talk to you." Muskaan forwarded the tray to me on the table and left with Anjali. I began to eat the egg and toast Muskaan prepared for me. As I took a sip of the orange juice I saw Muskaan coming back. "Anjali wants you to come into the headquarters later today. They want to do a DNA test." She fed me a bite of food when she finished. I just leaned my head onto her shoulder wishing that none of this had ever happened.

I lifted my head when I heard knocking on the door. "Can you get that? I'll be right back." Muskaan asked as she walked to place the dirty plate into the kitchen. I got up and reached for the doorknob. The door creaked open and I saw Armaan. I stood rooted to the spot. The very fact that he was standing in front of me sent shivers down my spine. I began to back away from the door shaking my head. I felt the tears forming in my eyes as I saw his confused, questioning eyes. Those eyes. They were the same. "Shilpa, who is it?" Muskaan walked up to me and saw the tears in my eyes. She turned to the door and her anger rose. "What the hell are you doing here?!" She stood in front of me as if guarding me from him. I brought my eyes over her shoulder and saw him starting to step in, "I was wondering if everything is fine here. There are cops all around the building." Muskaan scoffed sarcastically. "Seriously? We don't need your fake sympathy. I'm surprised you even showed up here after what you did to Shilpa!"

I saw Armaan become more confused. "What are you talking about? What did I do to her?!" "Muskaan walked up to him, "You disgust me Armaan! Get out of here!"  Muskaan pointed to the door behind him. "Shilpa, what is she talking about?" He started to walk to me but I moved back. I didn't want to be near him. The fact that he was in the room was already too much for me. "Don't go near her!" Muskaan pulled him back and started to push him out the door. "Okay fine I'm leaving!" he voluntarily walked toward the door. I dropped down to my knees and sat there letting my tears flow out. I saw him glimpse at me as Muskaan began to slam the door. "Shilpa, get up. Don't shed your tears for that loser." She wiped my tears and made me stand back up. Muskaan held me in a hug until there was a knock at the door again. She sat me down on the couch and went to it.

"I told you to go away!" She yelled as she opened the door. She bit her tongue when she saw who it really was. "Sorry Aditya!" He just chuckled, "No worries." He glanced at me and then back at Muskaan. "Mind if I come in?"  She moved aside and let him step in. "Do you know why the police is here?" He asked after he walked near me. "Yeah. Something happened here last night." Muskaan answered. He sat down on the other end of the couch. "Oh what happened? I hope nothing serious." His head turned toward me as if he knew it had to do with me. Muskaan looked at me before continuing. "It's serious. Someone came here last night while everyone was out and..." Her eyes shifted back to me. I just turned my head the other way trying to drown out the next words. "I think it'll be easier to show you." She walked up to me and removed the scarf from my neck and pushed my hair back. I closed my eyes as the pain took over. I heard him gasp.

"Oh my gosh!" He shifted over to where I was. "Shilpa, I hope you're ok!" He placed his hand on my shoulder. I didn't like it at all. I immediately jerked it away. "Sorry." He moved away. But I saw him smirk. It was only for a second but I saw it. I looked up at Muskaan to see if she did too. Her head was turned the other way. The fact that he was even talking to me didn't seem right. He was Armaan's roommate and best friend. He avoided me when Armaan avoided me. It just didn't sit right with me that he was here. And so concerned. For some reason I felt as though Armaan had sent him here. I started to feel uncomfortable.

"Umm.. Aditya, I think you should leave." Muskaan saw my discomfort. She knew there was something weird about his concern. "Alright. Bye Shilpa." He looked at me and his stare made me even more uncomfortable. "Bye Muskaan."  She smiled and shut the door behind him. "Well, that was weird." Muskaan handed me the scarf and I quickly wrapped it around my neck. "I bet Armaan sent him over." She added in an icy tone. "The nerve he has." She turned on the TV and crossed her arms in front of her chest.


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