The subtle nod of her head appeared as real as she did. Peaking his interest, he had to touch her, even though there was a possibility that he could be catapulted back to the bitter reality of her permanent absence. Almost as though she had read his mind or the hesitation in his glistening eyes, she extended her hand, softly caressing his arm. His body stiffened feeling a wave of sparks run through him. "You're really here." He mumbled immediately before pulling her into his embrace. She felt a warm sigh against the side of her neck where he had kissed her a record number of times before. "I thought I had lost you." She felt his body shiver as those few words escaped him. "I'm here." She ran her fingers up the back of his head reassuring him of her presence. Each hair on his body stood on end as he unraveled. Her touch gently coerced the stress out of his body, slowly, making him believe that they were okay. He released her warm body for a quick split second just so that he could capture her lips as insurance for her claim. She was startled by his desperation; each tug of his lips spoke volumes about his distress. He narrated his need for her through his actions and she responded with the very same passion. With an unmistaken sense of urgency, he pulled her body into his own and unknowingly shattered the fantasy that he had so perfectly weaved in her mind. Ironically, the sudden crashing closeness was what separated Priya from him. As she took a startled step backwards, she heard him growl softly, indicative of his frustration.
"What happened?" He asked genuinely confused.
"We can't do this anymore." She replied in a tone as uncertain as her expression.
"What do you mean?" He questioned, moving closer to her, not taking her seriously.
Seated on the sofa chair in Ram's bedroom, Priya gazed blankly into space reflecting on the last 24 hours of her life. What a roller coaster ride it was, to say the least. With all that was said and done, there was just one thing that still bothered her; Ram's blatant lie. She still remembered the 'so called' apology letter that Ram had left for her in which he had clearly falsified his dada-ji's death. She couldn't understand why he would do such a thing. She began to wonder whether his hands shook as he wrote the worst of words about someone he clearly loves? "What a manipulative ass," Priya mumbled to herself, shaking her head in disbelief just before an annoying query plagued her mind. "Why does his lies and manipulation bother you so much, Priya?" With her eyebrows knotted in frustration, Priya dug deep within herself, searching for an answer to her own question. "Obviously... It bothers me because it's just so wrong on so many levels. Who would theoretically kill someone they love just to elicit a favourable response? It's just so wrong." She offered herself pathetic excuses trying to steer clear of the possibility that perhaps she was beginning to expect more from him. And if that was even half the truth than it clearly meant something had changed in the way she saw him. "No, no, no..." Shrugging aside her own presumptions Priya exhaled deeply as she got up and made her way to the wardrobe. She needed a distraction, at least until she was more sure of her thoughts. Unfortunately for Priya, Kush had fallen asleep right after his bath having missed his daytime nap. She had secured her bundle of joy on Ram's bed in between two large fluffy pillows. Priya had an inkling of Ram's reaction with regards to sharing his bed. However, tonight she looked forward to the pending tantrum, knowing it was just the thing she needed in order to be reminded that Ram was a heartless human being with no potential to ever change
"I am so happy you're okay." She uttered in almost a whisper, trying to hide her desire to be close to him.
"Likewise...But..." He began to reciprocate but was cut short by her continuation.
"But we can't forget what happened before I left. You told me to go Ram. And I would have been on that plane, if Vikram hadn't called. It was only then that I realized I had grabbed your phone by accident. I didn't come back for you. I needed my phone. But when I got home, I saw you weren't here and I thought you..."
"Please..." Ram cradled her hands in his, begging. "Let's not do this now, I really need you and I can tell that you need me too."
"Let's not do what, Ram? It's already done." She jerked her hands out of his hold, watching his distorted expression. "Ram, when I heard about the plane crash on the news, I thought for sure I had lost you. And I cried, knowing that you craved a life with me, that I was never able to give you. Ram, you deserve all the love in the world, unconditional love, which I can't even promise you at this time. I'm happy if you're happy and living this way with me isn't working for you anymore. I know you're tried of hiding our love and so I'm setting you free." She spoke the last sentence quickly and turned her face away from him knowing she would crack if she stared a second more into his helpless brown eyes. "Please, Priya..." The despair in his voice brought tears to her eyes, she knew he would not leave her without a fight, but she was certain that her decision was best for both of them. With the gentlest of touch, he held her right hand placing her palm against his chest, catching her off guard. She expected him to scream and shout but instead he was gentle. Just when she thought she knew him inside out. Feeling the unevenness in each breath he took forced chills down her spine. Losing control of herself, she looked into his glistening eyes, astonished by the unmistaken sorrow, which her words alone had evoked. She knew she had to pull her hand away but he tightened his grip as though he had read her mind. "Do you feel how fast my heart is beating? Just by the mere thought of a life without you. I know you're angry by the things I said earlier." He moved closer placing a kiss on her hand. "I'm sorry... I'm sorry... I'm so very sorry..." His pain brought tears to her eyes. That was always the bond they shared. And as he sighted the first of tears in her eyes he sensed her stance shattering. Taking full advantage of her emotional vulnerability, he made an attempt to comfort her, pulling her gently in his embrace. However, she remained adamant, refusing to give in. And once again they stood at opposite poles unsure if that was how it would end up remaining. "You don't have to say you're sorry." Brushing her palms across her moist cheeks, she began another round of fire, this time aiming for the kill. "I should be the one apologizing for being so selfish. You have to live this lie with me, hiding our love all because of me."
"No Priya," He moved close once more, desperately trying to put an end to the fight. He wanted to hold her so badly but she continued to deny him the pleasure. "I know you're just as helpless as I am. I know it's equally as hard for you to end this relationship as it is for me. I know that there is a reason why you can't tell your father about us. And I am okay if you choose to keep our relationship a secret for the rest of our lives. Believe me Priya. I can live with that. But I can't live without you. I thought I had lost you forever. And now that I know you're alive how can you expect me to leave you and move on?" Ram poured his heart, purposely leaving out the part about the phone call, which he had received, earlier from the bank. He knew her helplessness and understood it too. But he wanted to wait until she was ready to tell him. She was already fixed on severing their relationship and so he feared that if he mentioned the loan, she would end it for good.
Priya lay on her side on the firm mattress admiring Kush while he slept. She had already placed a blanket and a pillow on the sofa for herself as she waited for Ram before she shifted from his bed. It was a little after 10pm when he finally made his appearance. Cladded in a black suit with his tie tugged loose, Ram looked like a mess. Immediately as their eyes met, an awkward stare was shared amongst them. Without so much as a word Ram made his way unsteadily to the sofa. She presumed he had been drinking, his gait gave it away. Priya sat up hastily in bed observing Ram as he kicked off his shoes and shrugged off his jacket before passing out on the sofa.
"Rich, spoiled brat." Priya thought to herself, stepping out of bed. Slipping on her slippers, Priya made her way cautiously towards Ram. His snoring supported her conclusion that he had indeed fallen asleep. With her arms folded across her chest she watched Ram closely. She was right, he had been drinking, she could smell the booze on him from where she stood. Priya sighed deeply, unsure of what to make of him. Although Ram was an obnoxious jerk, she couldn't help but feel somewhat sorry for him in his current state. "What a waste of such a blessed life." She mumbled to herself while placing a blanket over his body. Stirring in his sleep Ram turned on his side and slurred with his eyes still shut, "Thank you, Priya." Alarmed by his sudden movement, Priya took a step back. However, his drunken gratitude was the ultimate surprise. "Thank you?" She whispered, "From Ram 'the khadoos' Kapoor?..." Shaking her head in disbelief Priya tried to make some sense of what just happened. "Has Ram changed?" She walked slowly to the bed drowning in her own flood of thoughts. "No, no Priya. You must be dreaming. Ram is just drunk. That's all... Besides, nobody changes overnight. And why do I care about his sudden gratitude. It's none of my business. I'm just here for this plan, for Kush and for Ayesha. And than I'm gone. Chal Priya, so jaye." Placing her head on the pillow Priya continued to watch Ram cautiously as she slowly drifted off to sleep...
"Ram," The disregard in her tone made him anxious. "Sometimes the right thing is the hardest to do. I just want you to move on and be happy." She sensed his desire to say something in return and so she spoke hastily trying to get her point across before he sidetracked her again. "You're right, this is hard for me too Ram."
"Than why are you doing it?" He managed to squeeze in a few words.
"Because I love you, dammit!" Priya declared at the top of her lungs, unafraid of the four walls that stood witness. "Don't you get that? I love you." She gulped, biting back tears. "I can't see you live like this. Why are you making this harder than it already is Ram?" She placed her hands on his chest nudging him back. "You know what would have made this easier? If I had stayed on that damn plane!" She blurted out evidently enraged yet secretly flattered at the same time by his persuasive persistence to keep her in his life.
"SHUT UP PRIYA!" He screamed, startling her with an ache as he clutched her upper arms tightly. "Just because I am putting up with your nonsense doesn't mean you get to say whatever stupid thought that crosses your mind."
His rage was dangerously palpable, stemming from the base of his broken heart; she could read the pain all too clearly in his eyes.
"Ram, you're hurting me." She whined in an attempt to break free from his relentless hold.
He could see that she remained adamant on leaving him, fighting hard against the desire in her heart to stay. As far as Ram was concerned he had no one in his life worth fighting for besides Priya. And so he had to lay all his cards on the table in order to talk her out of leaving. She did not come into his life just so he could watch her go and that too without a compelling reason. "You say you love me but you want me to leave? Can you see why it's so hard for me to believe you? What are you hiding from me?"
"W-what do you mean? Just leave me. I'm done with you." She couldn't help the slight stumble in her voice, trying hard not to appear flustered. Her heart feared where he was headed, hoping it wasn't the obvious.
Noticing the discomfort in her tone, Ram suddenly realized he had the upper hand. Releasing his grip, Ram's eyes remained fixed on his target. "I know about the damn loan Priya."