Amrita looked at herself in the mirror and sighed -- if only she was 10 kilos lighter, life would be perfect. The waist on her brand new Chanel LBD seemed too snug and she cringed at the thought of calling the darji up to alter it again, for the 10th time. Why did God have to make her so round, or as they liked to call it these days, “curvy”? She stepped away from the heart -shaped 5-foot long mirror and moved towards her balcony. And that’s when she realized, how silly it all sounded. She looked out at the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea that stretched out in front of her 20th-floor bedroom. Yes, that was only her bedroom. Her father, the businessman Manoj Piramal, was India’s richest man, and she lived in a house known to be the most expensive building in the world. Her closets were full of outfits by designers from all over the world, and her drawers full of diamonds. She never ever needed to ask for anything, because if it was the best, it was in their home. And yet, she was unhappy. If father could just will her thin, she grinned.
Suddenly, she heard the squeaky voice she had got so used to, “Amrita baby, chalo chalo, party ka time ho gaya,” said her maid of 20 years, Mira. Mira had brought her up since her mother passed away and Amrita knew that without her, she would have been incomplete. “But Mira, how can I go out there? I am a fat heiress. How people will laugh?” she laughed out loud, “and all those South Bombay bimbettes who think I have everything without actually deserving it, will have a chance to snub me again.”
“Nobody will snub you,” said Mira lovingly, “You are a princess right, and what makes you even more special is that unlike those bimbettes, Amrita, you have a golden heart. “Amrita sighed, and thought silently, golden hearts didn’t matter in this world -- It mattered if you were thin, if you looked sexy, and if you had a beefy boyfriend. But she knew she had to be on time or else her father wouldn’t be happy. She decided to use her own fashion sense and she slipped off the ill-fitting Chanel and instead grabbed a pale pink cotton dress she had bought from a local boutique the other day. Its empire line flattered her figure and suddenly, she smiled, “maybe, she would knock them dead after all.”
As she got into the red velvet lined elevator from her room and headed towards the ballroom, she felt the knot in her stomach grow bigger. What a fool she was. Obviously things were never going to be different. She was fat, and fat people never fit in, however much money they had. The lift halted and Amrita was surprised as the door started to open. Nobody used her elevator. The man who got in looked surly, and when he looked at her, his expression turned into one of amusement. But even though he looked mean, Amrita’s heart went into a spin. He was the best looking man she had ever seen. Dressed in a black shirt and moss green corduroys, his lean physique was enhanced by his wavy sexy hair that ended just below his ears in soft waves. His 2-day stubble was the only accessory he wore, along with that menacing grin, of course. She stared at him and started to smile, when he barked. “So, are you invited to this shin dig? I have just joined Piramal industries and the first job the boss gives me is to escort his daughter to the party. She must be one bad looker if he has to beg her a date,” he guffawed. She felt sick, and she whipped past him and pressed the open door button on the control panel. As she did so, she felt his hand rest softly on her waist, “Hey, what’s the hurry?” He smelled of Davidoff Cool Water and she almost fainted. “I need to go,” she managed to say and got off. She knew he was watching her storm off, but she needed to talk to her father. She didn’t want him to be arranging dates for her, especially ones with men who looked like this. Who did he think his daughter was? Cleopatra?
Her father sat behind the big mahogany desk in his office as she burst in crying. “Amrita, what happened?” She fell into her father’s arms and felt her tears wet his shirt. “Sorry dad, but I just can’t take it.” “Just can’t take what darling!” he asked gently
“Why are you arranging…” before she could finish, the door opened again and the man with the menacing grin walked in. “Now stop crying and meet Mehtab. He is my new managing director, and I told him I would make him meet the most beautiful girl in the world today, my daughter.” Amrita wished her father would stop talking. Mehtab was looking at her strangely – a mixture of disdain and pity on his face. “We just met in the elevator,” he said, “but she ran away. Amrita, do I look that scary?”
Amrita realized the only way to last the night was to stand up to this mean man. She looked at him defiantly, “No, but you sure didn’t look appealing.”
Her father laughed, “Mehtab, she got you there. I am off to change. Kids, get to the party now. You are the hosts after all.” Her father left and Amrita headed towards the door. But Mehtab was suddenly behind her, holding her waist, “Why didn’t you tell me you were my date?” he said into her neck. “Well, because I am not, Mr too good for the fat girl,” she spat out. He grinned, “So the little cat has claws I see. Well you are mine for the night. Daddy’s orders,” he now said into her ear, and she felt her knees melting. “Fine, then let’s get it over with.”
They walked into the ballroom holding hands, and Amrita could feel the sweat trickle down her spine. This man was making her swoon. He dropped the mean act when he was with the other people. He was charming, gracious and even funny, she noticed. But he wasn’t letting go of her hand. She tried to struggle, but then she saw the dreaded bitch brigade standing in a corner in their tiny dresses and high heels watching her with a look she hadn’t seen ever – they were jealous of her, and it was Mehtab they wanted. Instead, she shocked herself by slowly leaning towards him and taking in the smell of his body. He turned around and at the same time and for a minute they stood facing each other, their bodies almost touching, his eyes focused on her lips and she could almost feel the kiss. But then he said, “So showing off to your skinny friends I see.” Amrita snarled, “You are not a nice man.”
“Well, if you wanted a nice man, go on a matrimonial site,” he came closer and then suddenly dragged her into the dance floor. It was a slow song, and as he pressed u against her, Amrita felt dizzy. “What happened baby doll, never been so close to a man?” “You’re not a man,” she gasped, “You’re an animal.” This time he roared as he laughed, tipping his head back and letting his hair hang. She felt her anger dissolving and she laughed too. “That’s what I wanted you silly girl. Drop the act and smile.” They danced and Amrita ran her fingers through his hair. She was just going to gather all her courage and ask him if she could kiss him, when her arch rival and cousin Mona, cut in. “Amrita darling, quit hogging the only good looking man in the room just because your daddy owns the company.”
Mehtab shrugged and as he turned around to dance with Mona, his hands on that tiny waist, Amrita felt deflated. Did she really think he liked her? He was only being nice to her because her career depended on it. She felt tears well up and she tried to get near the elevator, stumbling over tables as she ran. And then it happened. She felt her dress getting stuck on a table and down came the chocolate fountain. Amrita felt the brown liquid all over her dress and her back, and she could hear the girls giggling. She called out, “Mira”. But it was Mehtab who came to her. He was picking her up, he was holding her tight, and he was saying out loud, “Ladies and gentlemen, this girl is so sweet even chocolate can’t resist her.” People were clapping now, and she felt comforted as he carried her to the lift. In her room, he set her down and slowly licked her neck. It’s not half as sweet as you. Wash it off, so I can see the real you. Amrita felt a strange shiver as she washed her face. There was a man in her room, and he was as dreamy as God made them. Was this real?
She realized she had said it out aloud. “Yes this is real,” said Mehtab as he took her into his arms. He kissed her left shoulder, “I fell for you when I saw you the first time in the elevator. I knew who you were. And that’s why I poked you. “Did you know? How mean,” she barely managed to say as his lips roamed around her collarbone.
He kissed her other shoulder and then slipped off the straps off. “My baby doll. You are perfect the way you are. Those girls showed what they were made of as soon as they laughed at you.”
Amrita was lost among the words and the sweet sensation his kisses were leading to. She arched her neck towards him and before their lips got caught in what lovers do, she purred and said, “Well, this time, the joke’s on them. The fat girl with the golden heart -- Who knew that worked? ”
Aryan had just settled down in the luxuriously comfortable armchair in his hotel suite. Coming back to India after years of working as the scion of the family designer garments chain in New York looked as if it was going to be a great experience. He revelled in the warmth and hospitality shown by the hotel staff and looked forward to his business meetings in the coming days. The shining gold knob of the bathroom door moved suddenly and a soft click later, Aryan found himself staring at, he had to admit grudgingly, the most seductive apparition he had ever beheld in his twenty nine years. He was overpowered by the heady fragrance of fresh roses that wafted from the open door, his mind visualising tantalising thoughts of the bathing beauty who now stood before him, wrapped in a soft, white towel.
She stood still, her beautiful brown eyes widening with shock. In her confusion, she took a few steps towards the door, but tripped and landed in Aryans lap. He put his arm around her shoulder to prevent her from falling to the floor.
Finally she uttered a few words of disbelief.
“What are you doing here? Let me go.”
“I should be asking you how you took the liberty of pampering yourself in my bath. Or are you the most delightful surprise gift, courtesy the hotel? I must admit they have done a wonderful job.”
He raised a thick, dark, well shaped eyebrow and looked down at the doe eyed beauty in his lap. All his experience of proximity with stylish, beautiful women could not give him immunity to her innocent charms. He felt electrified with sheer physical desire and took in her dewy soft magnolia skin, two incredibly sexy black beauty spots-one above her lip and the other on her cheek, her large doe eyes, still wide with shock and her luxuriant, wavy dark brown hair tied in a top knot. Tendrils escaped to caress her forehead, making her irresistibly desirable to him-Aryan who had the reputation of being a stone hearted businessman, who had not yet shown any inclination to explore matters related to the heart. A driving ambition to be the best in the industry possessed him and women seemingly had no place in his life. But that was till now. At this moment he seemed not to have heard her request to release her and was trying to conquer his irresistible desire to kiss her full, soft mouth. Suddenly he put her down with gentleness unexpected from so large a man. Then he stood up. He was tall, more than six feet and incredibly handsome. She reluctantly admired his distinguished looks, chiselled features with high cheek bones and felt colour rising to her cheeks when she met his eyes, full of undisguised desire.
“Leave the room at once! I want an explanation for this”.
She started to move towards the phone when he drawled in his deep baritone.
“Surely you don’t want the hotel staff gossiping about you by presenting yourself in this state of err… undress, enchanting as you look.”
He looked at her, noticing the soft white rise of her full breasts and her shapely legs. A heady desire to embrace her and smother her with kisses overpowered him. She turned away towards the bath realising the inadequacy of her dress. The audacity of the man- ordering her about after intruding in her own hotel room. Yet she had to concede that he was the most handsome man she had ever seen. And cultured too. Whatever the case may be, men were the last thing on her mind right now. She was here for a wonderful career opportunity as a model for an exclusive garment chain in America and she needed to present herself as the very best. Fuming at this unnecessary interruption, she quickly changed and emerged to find him engaged on the phone demanding an explanation for the room muddle up. Her sherry brown eyes sparkled with anger.
“Well, I admire your guts Mr… You barge into my room and demand an explanation. Your misplaced confidence is admirable.”
Within seconds a profusely apologetic hotel manager came in after a discreet knock and expressed his deep regret to Mr. Aryan, who was in the right room, it was Miss Jasmine who had been given the duplicate key to the same room by mistake. Aryan hardly bothered about the apologies. It was her name that immediately registered in his mind. Jasmine- how apt. She was ethereal, with her porcelain skin and delicate features. He was jolted to the reality with a sudden explosion of outrage from her.
“You should be apologising to me. I emerged from the bath to find this man sitting comfortably in my room! I want an explanation at once.”
The manager turned towards her, repeating his most humble apologies and offered to carry her luggage personally to her room. She flounced out of the room with a toss of her swan like neck while Aryan stood watching, a bemused smile on his mouth.
She wondered why she felt that twinge of regret as she settled down in her rightful room. Trying hopelessly to put away thoughts of him, she had to admit that he was the most attractive man she had ever come across. Putting him out of her mind wasn’t going to be easy. She tried to concentrate on the evening’s audition and selection of models. Suddenly her mind struck a chord-Aryan- could he be the owner of the garment chain she was going to audition for?
The next few hours were spent concentrating on the auditions. While she was helped to dress for the big event that was to take place within a few hours, she couldn’t deny a new emotion that constantly nagged at her, a delicious agony, a passionate waiting for the time when she would see him again. But would she? She had confirmed that he was indeed the Aryan she would perhaps be working for but would he even notice her presence? Wouldn’t she be just another pretty face amongst scores of others? Ah! Well how did it matter to her? It must be just a passing fancy. He was not her kind .Too arrogantly aware of his riches, power and charm.
The auditions were beyond her expectations. She floated on the catwalk in her gossamer gown of pristine white lace, the low neck enhancing her cleavage to an unfair advantage and a delicate diamond necklace adorning her beautiful neck. Her selection as the global face for Aryan International had her in a tizzy. She tried to control her wildly beating heart as she tried to walk gracefully towards Aryan who had been invited to the stage to present a bouquet to her. She chided herself for such adolescent behaviour and went up to him to accept the honour without betraying her emotions. His demeanour was flawlessly professional as he handed her the bouquet and kissed her formally on her cheek.
The rest of the evening was a dream, people congratulating her, admiring her look and she had no opportunity to confront Aryan for whom she was doubtless just another of the numerous beautiful women he knew. But why did her thoughts invariably come back to Aryan? Had she not decided to reach the top rung in her career? Men were not an important part of her life. In the modelling world she had come across men who regarded her as a dumb beauty and she was determined to prove them wrong. Across the room she saw a beautiful young woman clinging to Aryans arm and talking animatedly to him. He seemed to be indulgent and all attention to her. Jasmine felt an inexplicable disappointment in her heart as she struggled to be attentive to Raj, the Executive Director, who was telling her of the hectic schedules and immediate relocation to US that was to follow. She busied herself with the numerous arrangements that would have to be made. And that included convincing her overprotective parents that their youngest child was now twenty and quite capable of looking after herself.
She dressed carefully for the evening party thrown by Aryan International. A sheer black net sari with a tiny backless blouse exposed her hour glass figure and flawless skin to an advantage. Her hair tied in a top knot; she seemed to be the artist’s inspiration for the tempting seductress depicted in Indian paintings. Satisfied with her appearance, she went down to the car sent for her.
Raj greeted her, took her hand, a little too warmly it seemed to her and complimented her profusely on her stunning appearance. His attentions to her went beyond the scope of his duties and his flirtatious ways bordered on the outrageous. Jasmine, least flattered by his attentions, coldly excused herself on the pretext of going to the rest rooms. Raj’s unwanted flattery had irritated her coming at a time when she wanted to bask in her success.
A valet came towards her with the message that Mr Aryan wished to see her immediately. Could he escort her to his room? Wondering if the aloof Mr Aryan was going to bestow similar attentions, she determined to make it clear that this was not going to be a part of the deal. She found him sitting with a serious look on his face. He asked her to take a seat; rather curtly she thought and wondered what was coming. “Miss Jasmine, let me come to the point immediately. You realise that you will be representing one of the foremost garment chains in New York! I expect a certain degree of maturity and propriety of behaviour from you. At no cost can I have the impeccable image of my company tarnished.”
She was shocked at this accusation. Resentment and anger welled inside her. The high handed arrogance of the man! Just who did he think he was? Her eyes flashed and her face reddened at the slight.
“Can you explain what you mean Mr Aryan?”
“I am sure you are not such a kid as to be unaware that your demeanour with Mr Raj was rather repulsive. Jasmine couldn’t contain herself any more.
“Mr Aryan .I certainly did not expect a man of your stature, understanding and repute to behave in such a manner. Surely you realise that the indiscretions were all on Mr Raj’s part and extremely distasteful to me? And if this is a prelude of the kind of treatment I am going to get, I will have to decline the offer I am afraid.”
Aryan looked at her carefully. He had not expected such a spirited reply. She got up as if to leave and he instinctively went around to say what he knew was the truth behind the outburst. He had watched her all evening and found every curve revealed by this tantalising garment seductive. He had longed to touch that velvet skin, to kiss the nape of her beautiful neck. He had been insanely jealous of the other man. He knew it was now or never.
He gently put his arms around her. Her anger simply melted in his arms. She was conscious of an overwhelming desire to remain in the strong, protective embrace. He kissed her, first tenderly then urgently, with inflamed passion. She responded by snuggling against him, her soft curves melting into his hard body.
Mastering his strong desire of never letting her go, he pulled away from her. “I have another offer if you wish to take it. Will you be my bathing beauty, my complimentary gift from India which I always want to keep?”
With these words he went down on his knees, took her small white hand and smothered it with passionate kisses.
“Yes Aryan, yes.”
He rose to his full height, towering above her slight frame and both held each other tightly, as if they would never let go.
The phone rang shrilly. It was the guest house clerk informing her in glacial tones that her taxi had been waiting “for almost ten minutes ma’am”. “Tell him to wait some more.” Riya said firmly. “Unless he wants me to prance out in my petticoat” she muttered to herself.
Being a size zero had definite disadvantages when one was dressing for an Indian wedding. A bosom that filled out her Wills Lifestyle work shirts quite adequately appeared positively meagre in the choli she’d got stitched to match her best Benarasi sari. She looked at herself in the mirror for a bit, and decided to go for her back-up outfit instead, but even the dressy Anaarkali-style churidar kameez would be a disaster without the Wonderbra knock-off she’d bought on her last Thailand trip.
“Choli ke peechhe kya hai, choli ke peeche…” she sang to herself as she darted around the room, trying to locate the elusive bra which finally turned up tucked into the front zip of her laptop case. Riya gave a little yelp of alarm as she looked at the clock. Gaurav’s baraat was due to leave at 5.45, and it was already 4.00. She dressed in a hurry, adjusted the plunging neckline of her kameez, and grabbing her clutch, ran out of the door.
She reached Gaurav’s flat at 5.30 to find the bridegroom balanced precariously on a stool, fixing a string of fairy lights above the front door. Evidently she wasn’t as late as she thought. Gaurav hopped down as soon as he saw her, and pulled her into a bear hug. “Mom, dekho, our hot-shot banker girl is here” he called out, and his mum came bustling out. “Arre, beti, finally, we missed you so much at the sangeet!” she said. “Come in, come in, we’re just about to start the sehra-tying ceremony.” Riya hugged her, and said “I didn’t know there was a ceremony around that.”
“There’s a ceremony around everything.” said a familiar voice, and she looked up at the tall figure behind Gaurav’s mom. Dhruv Malhotra. Riya’s eyes gave him a quick once-over, and her heart rate tripled. He was as cute as ever, rumpled hair, chocolate-brown eyes behind impossibly long lashes, a tiny dimple in his left cheek that showed when he smiled. “It’s been a long time.” he said. “Hi Riya.”
All the coolly sarcastic lines that she’d rehearsed over the last ten years flew out of her head as she took his outstretched hand. Little thrills ran up her hand as it touched his, and she blushed, hardly paying attention to Gaurav’s mum twittering away next to her. The one thing she caught was that Dhruv was Gaurav’s cousin. “Which explains why he’s here,” she thought as she followed Mrs. Chopra into the flat.
The sehra-tying took a while, and there was a mad scramble to get into the hired cars that were to take the baraat to the wedding venue. Riya had just taken her place in the middle seat of an Innova, when Dhruv slid into the seat next to her.
The car was cramped, and Riya was very conscious of Dhruv’s hard, muscled thigh pressed against hers. A sudden impulse to reach out and touch him flared up, and Riya almost groaned aloud. She turned her head away. “Get a grip” she said to herself firmly.
Dhruv had been four years ahead of her in architecture college, drop-dead gorgeous, and hugely talented. Riya and he hit it off the first time they met, and they spent most of their free time together, hanging out in the college canteen, or bunking classes to watch movies over endless bags of popcorn.
Things got a little more serious during the end-of-semester picnic. She’d slipped her hand into his as they separated from the rest to wander around among the trees. At some point, Dhruv turned to her and gently pulled her into his arms. She could feel his heart thudding against hers, as his lips touched hers, very gently at first, then a little more urgently. She completely lost control as his tongue slipped into her mouth, flinging her arms around him, and twining her body against his. His arms tightened around her – they were both flushed when they pulled apart a minute later. He looked as dazed as she felt, but he put her away from him gently. “We should go back now.” he said. His shirt was unbuttoned almost to his waist – Riya must have done that at some point, though she had no recollection of anything other than the sensation of his mouth on hers. Dhruv started buttoning it with shaky fingers, and then stopped suddenly to pull her into his arms again. “I love you” he’d whispered into her hair as she buried her face in his chest.
College was closed for a week after the picnic, and when it reopened, Riya found Dhruv inexplicably avoiding her. After a few abortive attempts at cornering him in college, she barged into his hostel room one evening to ask him what the hell he thought he was playing at. He gave her a long, condemning look – “like I was some kind of reptile,” Riya said indignantly later – and said,
“Your dad thinks I’ve been harassing you.”
Riya’s dad was a senior professor in the college – evidently someone had taken it upon themselves to tell him that his daughter was up to No Good with a senior student. Dhruv had been called in for a disciplinary meeting, and threatened with expulsion if he ever went near Riya again.
“So you were spineless enough to say yes, sir, sorry sir, never again sir?” Riya demanded. “He said you told him…” Dhruv began, and Riya yelled “And you believed him!!! You unspeakable moron, it didn’t occur to you to come and ask me?” She picked up a cushion and threw it at him. Dhruv responded by yelling back, and she threw something else. And then Dhruv made the cardinal error of bellowing “Whether you complained or not, I can’t take the risk of your dad screwing up my career. It’s easy for you to talk – whatever you do, we all know that prof’s kids get top grades however dumb they are!” At that, Riya slapped him very hard, and stormed out of his room, scattering the bunch of boys outside the room who had been listening avidly.
Riya’s lips twitched a bit as she thought how Bollywoodish the whole scenario was – evil-father-creates-rift-between-lovers. Her poor dad, he probably genuinely thought that she needed rescuing from Dhruv.
The car went over a bump, and her body responded excitedly to almost landing in Dhruv’s lap. “Down girl”, Riya said to herself. Agreed, Dhruv was super-gorgeous (and still single according to Gaurav’s mom), but there was no point getting over-excited. He’d probably forgotten all about their two-day romance, and she did not want to boost his ego by making a fool of herself over him.
The baraat stopped some 500 metres before the hotel, where a white horse was waiting, next to a brass band. Riya got out of the car staring open-mouthed. “You’re serious?” she asked Dhruv, as she watched Gaurav clamber onto the horse. “He’s going to ride through Kolkata on a white horse?” Dhruv chuckled. “Punjabi wedding, right, even if it’s in Cal?” Riya cast a rueful look at her high heels as the baraat started dancing down the road to the hotel. “Take the shoes off and give them to me” he suggested.
Riya stopped dancing when the baraat reached the hotel, and ran up to Dhruv to take her sandals from his hand. “Thanks” she said breathlessly, trying to slip them on while standing on one foot. For a second she lost her balance, and fell against him, his arms automatically coming round her to steady her. “Nice”, her body said approvingly as her breasts were crushed against his broad chest for a moment. Riya pulled away and ran up the steps, feeling all hot and tingly. “As long as he doesn’t think I fell on purpose.” she thought.
Dhruv followed her slowly. He’d been more shaken than he’d like to admit on seeing Riya – he thought he’d got over her long ago. But his first impulse on seeing her had been to drag her away and make long, slow, delicious love to her. She’d looked stunning while she danced, curly hair tumbling around her flushed face, and the figure-hugging fuchsia pink kameez outlining every curve of her adorable little body.
The wedding took forever, one ritual following another. Riya slipped out for a breath of fresh air once the pheras were done. Dhruv was standing outside in earnest conversation with Gaurav’s mum. Mrs Chopra turned to her. “Riya beti, I need some help. Can you go with Dhruv and speak to the decorators who’re doing up Gaurav and Shilpi’s room? We tried, but the men only speak Bengali, the supervisor isn’t around. And they’re making such a mess of the room….”
“Yes, of course”, said Riya. Dhruv gave her one of his trademark, curl-your-toes-up smiles, and every bone in her body promptly turned to mush.
“How come you’re a banker now?” he asked her as they got into the lift. ““I figured in my second year that I sucked at architecture, so I did an MBA. Best decision of my life. And…” here she opened her eyes wide at him “I topped my class in B-school too, even though my dad wasn’t a prof there.”
Dhruv groaned. “I’m so sorry I ever said that” he started saying, then Riya grinned and said “Relax, I’m pulling your leg. And I said plenty of mean things too.” “Do you still throw things when you’re angry?” Dhruv asked curiously. Riya nodded, her expression sheepish. “Not at work though.” He grinned and pulled her in for a quick hug as they stepped out of the lift. “Good” he said “I’d hate to think you’ve changed.”
It took almost an hour and a lot of Bengali firm talking to get the room done. Riya heaved a sigh of relief as the last florist left the room closing the door behind him. “I need a drink.” she said. She turned quickly at the sound of a cork popping. “You can’t open Gaurav’s champagne!” Dhruv shrugged. “So, I’ll replace the bottle.” He poured out two glasses and gave her one. She took a sip, and peeked over the rim of glass at him. “Nasty stuff.” she said. “Beer is so much more value for money.”
Dhruv started laughing, and Riya looked around for something to throw at him. He captured both her hands between his, just as she was reaching out for the ashtray next to the bed. The movement brought them closer together, and after a second’s hesitation, Dhruv leaned forward, and kissed her gently. He drew away to look into her eyes. Presumably, he liked what he saw, because he gave a little groan and lowered his mouth to hers again. They sank down onto the sofa in the middle of the room.
Riya opened her eyes after several minutes. “My God” she said, her eyes huge. “That was…” she struggled for a word. “Amazing?” Dhruv suggested. “Mind-blowing? Simply awesome?” She smiled, hugging him hard. “All of those.”
““I guess I never stopped caring for you.” Dhruv said softly. “We were idiots to waste so many years.”
“Speak for yourself.” Riya said cheekily. “I was scoping the market” and as he raised an eyebrow, she capitulated “but you’re right, I’ve never been able to forget you. And….” she hesitated.
“And, maybe it’s too early to say this, but I think I might be in love with you all over again.”
The last bit of the sentence came out muffled against Dhruv’s eager lips, and Riya gave herself up happily to enjoying the next few minutes, secure in the conviction that this time round, their love was going to last.