Jasmine Chapter 2: The Rain

…Chapter 1

car-1168156_1920

Shiva rang the doorbell and waited. It was raining heavily and his car had stalled in the water-logged area just outside the apartment complex. He was already wet running back from his car to the apartment block. Drops fell from his hair as he hung his head and shook it.

Shiva had dropped off Jasmine after the concert. She had worn an exquisite red chiffon sari. Her shoulders stood shining in her tight sleeveless blouse. Her hair covered her bare back making up for the low back of the blouse. She wrapped the sari elegantly around her, just below the navel. She looked extremely sexy and Shiva had a hard time keeping his eyes off her. He didn’t want to make his glare obvious but was sure that she caught him admiring her a few times as his gaze bounced of her breasts. Her small breasts were hidden under the palloo but contoured shapely in the tight blouse.

As they had sat next to each other in the theatre, he was mesmerized by the whiff of her perfume. Her bare soft arms rested on the armrest between them, lightly touching his arms, her shoulders rubbing his shoulders as she leaned over to say something softly in his ears. He tried to focus on the concert giving her pieces of information about the band and the style of music. He wondered if she knew of how gorgeous she looked and how she made him feel.

Dinner followed the concert. She didn’t seem to be in a hurry to get back home even though it was late. On their way back, he drove by the beach. It was a stormy night. The dark beach lit up by the lightning that flashed through the sky as large drops of rain fell on the windshield of his car. Light music played on the stereo while she spoke nonchalantly about her day, the concert, the beach… he lost track of exactly what she was saying as he just focused on her sweet soft voice.

The rain soon turned into a full-fledged storm. Shiva drove slowly into her apartment complex, wading the car through pools of water.

“I had the most wonderful evening today” she said as he stopped the car.

“Me too” he smiled at her. He didn’t want her to go, didn’t want the evening to come to an end.

“We should do this again” she said softly

“We must” he said.

“Good night” she said as he felt her hand rest on top of his hand. She squeezed his hand as she smiled sensuously. He turned his hand over to and intertwined his fingers with hers and held her hand tightly. He leaned towards her staring into her eyes. He could feel her grip tightening on his hand. He leaned forward, his lips hovering close to her. Her lips parted just a little. He placed his lips on hers, gently caressing her lips with his. His tongue met hers as he felt her hand on the back of his neck, pulling him closer to her.

A bright streak of lightning and loud thunder broke their kiss.

“I really should go now” she said, wiping her mouth with her sari. She looked around to see if anyone in the apartment complex was watching. There was little chance of anyone being there in the incessant rain.

“Don’t go” he pleaded with her, still holding on to her hand.

She looked around and kissed him lightly on his lips first, and then gave him another deep kiss. She pulled her hand from his as her lips left his. In one swift motion, she collected her purse, opened the car door and ran through the pouring rain into the apartment building. He watched her through the rain drops on his car window disappear into the building, sitting there soaking in the moment they just had.

As he turned his car out of the apartment complex and into the street, he was met with knee deep water. His car waded through for a bit and then stalled. His attempts to start the car failed.

“Shit” he cursed under his breath wondering what to do. There was nothing much he could do. It was pouring and quite late in the night. There was no way he could find a mechanic now. He picked up his cell phone and dialled Jasmine’s number.

“Hi, my car broke down just outside your apartment and I am stuck in the rain in the middle of the night” he told her on the phone. There was a long pause.

“Hi, you there?” he inquired.

“Yes, yes, of course. Ummm would you like to come up to my apartment?” she said.

“Is that going to be okay? I mean what will your parents think?”

“Actually there’s no one at home. They’ve gone out and won’t be back until tomorrow. I just saw their note.” She said, a little hesitantly.

“Are you sure it is okay?” he asked trying to sound as though he didn’t want to impose.

“Absolutely. It will be good.” He thought he heard her chuckle as she said that.

 

Advertisements

Jasmine Chapter 1: Desire

pink-hair-1450045_1920

Jasmine got her files ready for the project meeting and entered the conference room. When the meeting started, her boss introduced Shiva as the new member joining their team. Shiva appeared cool and calm and his voice was gentle as he gave his introduction. As the project meeting started, she noticed that Shiva was contributing to the discussion even though it was his first day in office. He was using his prior experience and making some very meaningful suggestions. As the discussions progressed, she felt drawn closer to Shiva, continuously attracted to his chain of thought and approach. She was secretly admiring Shiva, glancing at him without obviously staring at him.

After the meeting, some of the team members huddled together. They weren’t happy. They criticized Shiva for his comments and said he didn’t understand how things were done there. They said he just didn’t appreciate the challenges they faced. Jasmine tried to get her words in edgewise defending Shiva without appearing to disagree with her team, trying to appear to be on their side. She was walking a tightrope, not wanting to alienate herself from the rest of the team and yet not wanting them to dislike Shiva.

Over the next few weeks, Jasmine had a chance to interact with Shiva on various occasions. Even on days when there was no specific meeting, she would make it a point to talk to him on some pretext or another. She even started coming to office early to be able to see him walk by to his workstation. Jasmine even spent time researching about Shiva on the Net and she found his profiles on various sites and tried to gather as much information about him as she could. Her urge to be close to Shiva grew deeper each day. Shiva would normally offer to get her coffee when they were chatting. Slowly the coffee meetings became regular. She would feel excited sitting there in front of Shiva, her heart pounding heavily as her eyes focussed on his lips as he spoke. The sound would fade away as she imagined kissing and biting Shiva’s lips. She would control herself to bring herself back to their conversation. She wondered if Shiva noticed the way she felt.

On a Thursday evening, she met Shiva in the canteen near the coffee machine. He stopped and waited for her while she got coffee from the machine. His subtle gesture and eyes guided her to follow him to the corner of the canteen. They casually sat on the table making small talk.

“So, what are plans for the weekend?” he asked casually.

“Oh nothing, just the usual” she replied, nervous and hopeful, wondering where the conversation would go.

“Hey it’s the weekend, you should go out to the movies or something.”

“I don’t really go out much” Jasmine said.

“Really, that’s strange. Such a pretty girl like you not going out?” he smiled as he said that.

Jasmine’s heart skipped a beat. That’s the first time he had said anything about her appearance. So he does notice me, she thought and suddenly became conscious of how she was looking at that moment.

“I have two passes for a Spanish music concert. It’s organized by the Spanish cultural centre. If you are free, maybe you could give me company.” Shiva asked softly.

“Yeah sure” Jasmine said without much thought, and realized that perhaps she shouldn’t have said yes so quickly. A thousand thoughts flooded her mind. What would he think of her, having agreed so quickly? What if someone from office finds out? And yet, when she looked up from her coffee into his eyes, she was mesmerized by them. She knew she wanted to go out with Shiva. She knew in her heart that this is exactly what she had been waiting for. She was completely ecstatic at Shiva’s offer and was having a hard time controlling her excitement.

“Great. Let’s leave tomorrow around seven then.” Shiva said as he got up. He smiled as she nodded and walked back to his workstation, leaving her shaking from the inside.

Chapter 2…

Shruti Chapter 6: Friendship

…Chapter 5

pexels-photo-coffeecups

As Sanjay pulled his car on to the main road his cell phone beeped announcing the arrival of a new message. As his car sped on the open road, he read the message:

Thank you so much for the lovely evening. I will never forget this day. You are really a nice person.

A smile broke on Sanjay’s lips. He had taken Shruti out for coffee to a fancy barista. It was a perfect evening. Shruti wore a red top and a long flowing white skirt. The dim lights of the barista bounced on her fair skin, giving her a glow around her. Her perfume still lingered in the car. Sanjay read the message again.

You are really a nice person.

He remembered looking at her soft smooth hands as she played with her rings. How he wanted to hold her hands in his.

He remembered being mesmerized by her lips as she giggled at one of his anecdotes. How he wanted to let his lips linger over them.

He remembered her beautiful feet peeping from beneath her long skirt. How he wanted to caress them gently and tickle her sole.

Sanjay scrolled to read the remaining message.

I am so lucky to have you as my friend. Luv Shruti

Sanjay moved his thumb over the small screen on his cell phone trying to feel the words on the screen.

I am so lucky to have you as my friend. Luv Shruti

He read the remaining message again. He brushed aside the thoughts of her soft hands and full lips. He rolled down the car windows to let her perfume blow away in the wind. He couldn’t betray her trust. He couldn’t let her down.

 

(stock image)

Shruti Chapter 5: The Phone Call

…Chapter 4

pexels-photo-phonecall

Three days had passed since Shruti had saved Sanjay’s number in her contact list. In those two days she had wondered when he would call. Sameer had gone for his tour and was not expected back for another week and that added to her loneliness and craving for Sanjay’s call. She had tried to busy herself in work and brush away the thoughts of expecting a call but they would surprise her by creeping up every now and then. And then when she was in the middle of her staff meeting, the phone lit up without making a sound. It was Sanjay calling. She had strict no-calls-during-staff-meetings rule for her team and she would look bad if she broke that, so she let it ring till it stopped on its own.

After the meeting, she hurriedly picked up the phone and went to her cabin and dialed Sanjay’s number. It rang for a few times but it seemed like a long time to Shruti.

“Hello”, she heard Sanjay’s soft commanding voice

“Hi, it’s me, Shruti”, she said. She really wanted to pretend that she didn’t know whose number it was and was tempted to ask who it was calling, but she didn’t. She didn’t want to risk putting Sanjay off.

“Ya hi Shruti” Sanjay continued, “I had called but you were probably busy”. And Sanjay went directly to the reason he called. He was looking for connects in her company as he had heard they were looking to start a new project. It was a direct to the point conversation. Shruti agreed to find out who the right person would be within the company and said she will get back.

When she hung up, she felt disappointed and a little foolish. How silly of her to expect anything else. Sanjay was a professional, just as she was. They were just networking professionally, and nothing else. She felt as though she stubbed her toe against the furniture.

Sanjay hung up and apologized to the people sitting in front of him. He was in the middle of a meeting when Shruti called and he didn’t want to miss her call. He rued his missed chance of chatting up anything more than just professionally. Perhaps the next time when she calls back, he thought as he busied himself in the conversation with others.

The next day Shruti called him when he was alone. He smiled as he greeted her on the phone. Shruti told him about the person to connect with in her office and gave him the number. This time Sanjay extended the conversation, speaking about how wonderful he felt at the chance meeting with her. He wondered what she was doing in the evening and invited her for coffee. Sanjay was pleasantly surprised when Shruti agreed to meet with him that evening. He cleared off his calendar and started looking for places to take her out.

…Chapter 6

(stock image)

Shruti Chapter 4: The Crush

…Chapter 3

shruti-the crush

Shruti was at work when her phone beeped. She looked at the phone to check the message. It was a message on Whatsapp from Ritu. “Hey girl, thanks for making it to the party, sending some pics, you looked hot babe”, Ritu wrote in her casual tone. And slowly the pictures started to download. Shruti kept the phone down and got back to work. She knew the kind of pictures that were taken at the party, the women with their pouting faces and arched body poses, and the men with the drinks. By now Shruti had gotten used to Ritu’s party and the pictures that followed.

On her way home in the evening as Shruti checked her phone she started to view the party pictures. There were the usual poses as she expected. She scrolled through the pictures and then stopped at one. It was a group photo but this one had Sanjay standing next to her in the photograph. She remembered their brief conversation and her feeling of a teenage crush on him. Sanjay was tall and attractive man. He was well built and exuded confidence and charm. She remembered wondering how he was married to Rachna, who was so loud and garish, lacking the class that she saw in Sanjay. She zoomed in on the photograph to see Sanjay more clearly. He had a serene smile on his face but his eyes seem to be on her in the photograph. Was he watching her, she wondered, the thought of which brought a smile to her face. She felt strange feeling the way she was feeling seeing Sanjay’s photograph.

She was still some way from reaching home when Ritu called. While she wasn’t good at small talk, Ritu had no problem in keep the conversation going with small talk. Shruti asked about the slightly plump lady who was giving Ritu competition in being boisterous and loud. She really wanted to ask about Sanjay but didn’t know where to start. Ritu didn’t need much prodding. It seems Jagdeep firm had contracted Sanjay’s company for a new project and Jagdeep had invited Sanjay with his wife Rachna to the party.

“Rachna runs her own boutique, you know, she’s a wannabe fashionista”, Ritu told Shruti in a slightly condescending tone.

And then Ritu asked a strange question, “Waise what happened between you and Sanjay?”

It caught Shruti completely by surprise. “What do you mean what happened? Nothing happened” she mumbled, a little flustered

“Sanjay was asking about you rather inquisitively” Ritu said.

“I have no idea, we just spoke briefly” Shruti replied feeling almost guilty of being caught but also feeling excited about Sanjay asking about her.

“Accha rehne de, waise you are such a fattu, kuch nahin hoga tere se” Ritu was back in her nonchalant tone. “Listen, I am texting you his number” she said.

“What will I do with his number?” Shruti was a little surprised at where this conversation was going.

“Oh you, you and your dirty mind. He needs some connects for his business, and I told him you can help him get an entry in your office for the new project”

“Ya sure I will do what I can, but if he needs help he should call na, what will I do with his number?” Shruti said defensively even as she felt a strange happy feeling at the possibility of connecting with Sanjay again.

“He will call you silly girl” Ritu said, “I have given him your number. You save his number so you can recognize when he calls you” Shruti felt as though Ritu giggled under her breath as she said that.

They said their goodbyes and hung up. And sure enough a little while later her phone notified her of a new message with Sanjay’s number. As she looked at the number on the screen she remembered their brief conversation. He made her feel so comfortable with his light talk, his soft voice gave her a sense of belonging, and his small gestures of chivalry made her feel wanted. Something about him made her want to continue talking to this stranger. She wondered if he would call her soon. She saved the number in her contact list as her car pulled up near her house.

Chapter 5…

 

(Image credit: instagram.com/moomooi)

Shruti Chapter 3: Strangers

…Chapter 2

“So looks like you enjoyed the party after all.” Sameer said as he turned his car on to the main road.

“It wasn’t bad.”

“You had too much to drink. You should control yourself.” Sameer said, a little sternly.

“Of course not, I just hal a little.” Shruti smiled at him.

“You are slurring. Just be careful when you drink. You know you can’t hold it.”

“I can’t help it, you know how Ritu is. She overdoes everything. And then there was this new lady in the group who was giving Ritu such competition being loud and all. I don’t even remember her name now.” Shruti said. Sameer was quiet as their car cruised over empty roads. Shruti wondered why she did not mention Sanjay, a name she remembered very clearly. Not that she had a long conversation with him. Just a brief talk when he introduced himself as an architect and that that lady’s husband, ‘what was her name?’, Shruti thought. It was the most innocent conversation. She felt a little guilty being attracted to a man other than her husband. ‘Oh it’s just a silly crush, it will go away’ she thought.

love-1474111_1920

They reached home past midnight, navigating the empty roads with occasional dogs barking. In their bedroom she stood in front of the mirror de-jewelling herself. She didn’t like wearing too much jewelry and felt a relief taking her jewelry off. Sameer came and stood behind her and slowly removed the safety pin that tied her sari pallu to her blouse. He let the pallu fall and admired her in the mirror. His hands were caressing her shoulders as he gently kissed her neck. His touch on her felt nice and she closed her eyes to enjoy the moment of intimacy. Sameer’s hands slowly went in front and started opening the hooks of her blouse, caressing her breasts slowly. Shruti turned around and held him close and placed her lips on his. They kissed passionately. Sameer’s hands were exploring her body when she whispered in his ears “Sameer, I want to have a baby.”

Sameer hands stopped and his grip on her loosened. He straightened up looking at her.

“Sameer I promise I will be more careful now. I won’t open the door and won’t leave her alone, not even for one second.” Shruti pleaded, her voice quivering as she remembered what had happened three years ago. Sameer held her face in his palm, not saying anything.

“It’s been three years Sameer. How long can you go on like this, blaming me for what happened?” a tear rolled down her eye unable to move him.

“I am past 30 Sameer, how long will we wait? You know there can be complications after 35.” Shruti said as she clung to him.

“We’ll have one before you are 35.” Sameer said as he parted himself from her. She knew that meant he didn’t want to continue to the conversation.

That night they slept together like strangers, maintaining a safe distance.

 

Chapter 4…

 

(stock image)

Shruti Chapter 2: The Party

…Chapter 1

Shruti was jolted out of her thoughts by Sameer’s voice. She hadn’t noticed when he had come out in the balcony. He placed his hand on her shoulder gently and wished her good morning. She smiled at him and went inside to make tea for him.

Sameer was reading the newspaper as Shruti handed Sameer the cup of tea. He didn’t look up and continued reading. She watched him as he sipped his tea. Sameer’s indifference did not seem to match their passionate love making the previous night. There was very little trace of intimacy in the morning, very different from the affection he had shown last night. Sameer had always been good in bed and she always felt complete being with him. Yet she longed for some intimacy outside their bedroom. It is not that Sameer wasn’t a good husband. He always took care of all the small things that husbands are supposed to take care of. He was a gentleman and a caring person. So why did Shruti feel the distance between them?

“We need to go to Jagdeep’s party tonight” Sameer said softly without looking up from his paper.

“Oh no, I just don’t like these parties you take me to. Specially Jagdeep’s party. You know his father, he is such a creep always trying to come close to me.” Shruti groaned.

“Just touch his feet and move away. You know how important their family is to us. They are financing our new project, so please don’t make a scene.”

‘I never make a scene’, Shruti thought and decided not to say anything. Jagdeep was Sameer’s childhood friend and from a very rich family. Jagdeep’s father was 70 years old but very active socializer. He showed great affection towards Shruti, not missing any opportunity to touch her. Shruti hated it but didn’t want to jeopardize their new project. She knew she could handle him but just hoped that Sameer would show some empathy and understand what a creep the old man was.

“Wear that yellow sari of yours, the one with sleeveless blouse” Sameer said.

Shruti gave him the look.

“You look good in it, that’s all” Sameer said.

She knew she looked good in that sari. Sameer had told her umpteen times, as had her colleagues at work.

——-

Sameer was already at home when Shruti returned from work. As she started to get ready, she noticed him wearing his most expensive suit.

“Who all are going to be there?” she asked

“Mr. Sinha has invited some officials from the ministry. These guys are the ones who will clear our projects.”

‘Mr. Sinha, the creep’ she thought. Jagdeep’s father Mr. Sinha always seemed to have the right contacts. Must be something to do with his 30 years in the government service.

—–

As Sameer and Shruti stepped into the party, Jagdeep came forward to meet them. He gave Sameer a bear hug, an indication of old friendships and they laughed loudly at something that Shruti didn’t quite catch. Jagdeep welcomed her with a gentle handshake, maintaining his distance as they walked in. Mr. Sinha was standing with his old cronies when they walked up to him. She bent down slightly to touch his feet. Mr. Sinha immediately took her arm and hugged her, preventing the ritual.

“Arre beta, yeah sab ki zaroorat nahin hain. Ab to tum gale mila karo.” he said not letting go of her. “Come let me know introduce you to my friends.”

He introduced Sameer as his second son and Shruti as his bahu.

‘Heck, why doesn’t he hug his second son damnit’, Shruti thought as she wriggled out of Mr. Sinha’s grip. She greeted the others in the group with a nameste and excused herself saying she had to help Ritu, Jagdeep’s wife.

Mr. Sinha’s disappointment almost showed on his face but he knew he couldn’t prevent her from going. Shruti felt his eyes trailing her watching her walk by. She quickly turned into the crowd trying to find Ritu.

Ritu was a boisterous, happy go lucky person. Shruti found her surrounded by a gaggle of ladies in designer saris, laden with jewellery looking like advertisements for jewellery shops. Ritu had a glass in one hand and a cigarette dangled lightly from her fingers. She hugged Shruti.

“Girl, how do you maintain such a figure? You could look at any man and he would follow you anywhere darling.” Ritu said as Shruti blushed. Shruti always thought of herself as just another middle-class girl and felt uncomfortable with Ritu’s frankness. Even after years of going to parties like these with Sameer, she still felt out of place.

Ritu waved at the waiter for a drink. She handed a Bloody Mary to Shruti.

“Zyada strong to nahin hai na?” Shruti said as she took the glass.

“Arre itna nahin sochte, abhi to pehla hi drink hai” Ritu said as she diverted her attention to a new set of ladies that had just arrived.

Shruti moved away from the crowd, sipping her drink, trying to find a quiet corner. Just then Ritu called her back and introduced her to Rachna and Sanjay. Rachna was plump and looked even more like a jewellery shop, giving Ritu competition in being boisterous and loud. The group moved away leaving Shruti and Sanjay in their awkward togetherness.

Chapter 3…