‘The juice was awesome, you made it?’ asked Gaurav excitedly.
‘No, the chef made it!!’ said Ashima smiling.
Gaurav’s face looked like someone has thrashed it hard. He knew he had over reacted again, like that night, he felt sorry for that, but kept it all inside. Gaurav passed a warning glance at him.
‘Hey, listen, we are sorry for what all we did that, he was drunk and it just went out of the way!’ Rahul said apologetically. He didn’t wanted Gaurav to repeat what he did that night. He could see him excited again. Gaurav was looking at her pictures on the beige walls.
‘No No! It’s perfectly okay, I guess I over reacted that night too!!’ She justified.
‘You didn’t call the police, thanks for that.’
‘It’s ok. I didn’t want to stretch out the things, it’s no big deal.’ Ashima shrugged.
May be she feared that her pride may be in danger. Her career was at stake. How could she complain to police? Moreover she didn’t seem like those models who crave for publicity. She was well settled. Her father was a successful businessman. She lived in an expensive bungalow, owned a Maybach. She was not the ones who indulge in cheap publicity. Rahul was comforting himself with each and every justification he could. There was a silence in the room for a while. Gaurav was tensed looking at the walls, curtains, windows, and every other thing that he had missed to complement on. His eyes went to a photograph of Ashima with a guy. He freaked out on seeing it and was curious to know who he was. He didn’t give it a second thought, stood up and walked towards the picture.
‘Hey nice picture, you are looking awesome Ashima.’ Damn! Tell me who is that guy? His curiosity levels rose to peak.
‘Thanks!! That’s when I went to Simla with Rohit! I miss him.’ she was just about to cry. Rahul was shocked. For a moment she had forgotten that she was with people who were completely unknown to her. May be they will never meet again too. She soon realized that.
‘Sorry! Please Excuse me.’ she stood up and walked upstairs. Rahul could see her worried now.
‘Are you crazy? Why did you ask her about that.’ Rahul frowned. He was tensed and shocked at the same time, tensed because he thought that they are in deep trouble now for sure, and shocked because he thought about the models like they sleep around with people to get meaty roles and well established brands, but here the scene was entirely different. Ashima was emotional. He was confused what to say and what to do next. He was proven wrong. After ten minutes she returned, she looked normal.
‘I guess we should leave now.’ Rahul gave a nod to Gaurav. ‘It was so nice to meet you. Thanks again.’
‘Same here but do you mind if you join us for lunch also?’ Ashima smiled.
‘Say yes, say yes please’ Rahul could see Gaurav begging him.
‘It’s so nice of you, but we have to complete our project. So I think it’s better to leave now. ‘Rahul shrugged. He could see Gaurav cursing him for missing this opportunity.
‘I think you should join us, you will like It.’ she was forcing now.
Rahul was not sure what to say now. He smelled something fishy. He wondered why the hell she wanted them to join for lunch. He was fuming from inside, cursing the party when they met her and cursing Gaurav too. He seriously was not interested. But Gaurav was begging him, forcing him to say yes. Above that he wanted to know what the reason behind such special treatment was. He hysterically fought with his mind in the game of yes or no. He reluctantly agreed to the offer made to him after thinking a thousand times.
The dining table was decorated with a beautiful maroon table cloth. It was large with around twenty nicely carved wooden chairs. The walls around the table were covered with exquisite paintings.
‘Nice dining room, lovely.’ Gaurav said as they both walked around to have a look.
‘Yeah, all the big stars, wealthy people live like this only, but from inside they are all alone!!’ Rahul was shouting inside. He remembered his home, the time that he spent there. He had seen it all, how the wealthy people lived, how they buy things, buy clothes, buy people!!
‘So you both are comfortable?’ asked a manly voice. Gaurav turned around to see Mr. Malhotra standing at the corner of the table.
‘Mr. Malhotra, I am glad to see you here.‘ Gaurav said surprisingly.
‘Hello Rahul…..’ Mr. Malhotra said offering a handshake.
‘Rahul, he is Mr. Malhotra, it’s because of him that we are not in a police lockup.’ Gaurav interrupted in between. And because of him only we landed in so big trouble. Rascal!! Rahul wanted to kill him but controlled himself.
‘Hello, Mr. Malhotra, nice to meet you.’ He shook his hand involuntarily.
‘And yeah, thanks for what you did.’ Bastard!! Thanks my foot. He screamed inside.
‘Don’t say thanks to me dear, it’s not me who did this all.’ Mr. Malhotra sighed.
Then who did this? Rahul looked at Gaurav in surprise. They were in a state of shock.
‘I know you don’t want to take credit, but really, we are thankful to you.’ Gaurav smirked. Rahul gave a cold stare to him.
WTF!! Why he is thanking that creepy bastard. Its because of him, this all got haywired.
‘Don’t say thanks to me, it’s all because of Mr. Praveen Chopra.’ He let out a smile.
The name came as a surprise to Gaurav. But it came as a shock to Rahul. The person from whom he always ran, that person had helped him. He was in deep rage; he wanted to be put behind bars rather than being helped by such an arrogant and selfish father. Rahul Chopra, he recalled everyone calling out his name bullying him. It was then when he decided to prove himself that he could do well without his dad too. He felt the time stood still. His memory went into flashback again; he saw the clear, vivid pictures of his father and mother fighting with each other. It stabbed his heart. A tear or two rolled down his cheek, but he controlled his sudden rush of cortisol in his blood. He didn’t want his personal glitches ruin the situation.
‘Mr. Praveen Chopra, did you mean, The Praveen Chopra?’ He was excited again. Gaurav felt like his stars has suddenly changed in his favor. One night can change your life!! First, he met his long time crush, Ashima and greatest thing was that he was about to have lunch with her. Nobody can describe what he felt. He was happy, in fact very happy. Second, he heard the name of one of the biggest personalities who had helped them. He felt like a star. He was overwhelmed.
‘Yes………..you heard it right. He is Rahul’s father.’ He smiled, pulled back a chair and sat down.
That bastard killed my mother. He can’t be my father, arghhh… I hate him and I will keep doing till the end of my life, whispered Rahul to himself clenching his fists. He could feel the anger rising in him. They heard Ashima coming in the dining hall. Malhotra stood up to greet her.
‘You mean, Rahul……….’ Gaurav stood there astonished staring at Rahul. He didn’t want to justify himself not at least to Gaurav.
‘Gaurav, I think we should leave now, we have important work to do.’ Rahul pointed his watch to Gaurav.
‘B-but lunch is not over yet, in fact it has not started even…….’ Gaurav stammered in a low voice. He had never seen Rahul so disturbed. Rahul didn’t wait for his reply and walked out of the dining hall.
‘What happened?’ Ashima gazed at Gaurav.
‘We are extremely sorry,’ Gaurav ran behind him. ‘We would join you for lunch some other time may be….’ He exclaimed and left in a hurry. Rahul had already reached to the car.
‘Oh no!! What the hell has happened to you man? It was our only chance; life won’t give you second chances.’ Gaurav said as he punched hard on the car ceiling.
‘Do hell with your chances; if you want to go back then go, I am not stopping you, but I am not coming with you in there……..’ Rahul felt sorry for these words but he was helpless. He didn’t want to be honored for his father’s status and money at any cost. Gaurav was silent for a while, looking at him.
‘And you never told that he was your father…….’
‘What’s the big deal here? And will you please stop that?’ Rahul interrupted and started the car.
Rahul looked at him angrily. He put the car in first gear. Gaurav knew that that was not the right time to ask questions. Whatever may the case be, he always kept Rahul as his first priority. He opened the door and sat beside him and decided to let go.
‘Would you like to have some beer?’ Gaurav asked seeing a beer shop on the roadside.
‘Umm……okay.’ Said Rahul and he parked the car near the kerb. Gaurav knew that if everything fails, alcohol comes to the rescue. He wanted Rahul to calm down but he was more interested in knowing his past. Curiosity was killing him inside.
They drove off from there. He took the car on the highway.
‘Rahul, I don’t know about the thing that is bothering you but I just want you to share it with me.’ Gaurav said supporting Rahul. It came out of the desperation. Rahul was quiet, didn’t utter a single word. Gaurav’s curiosity was increasing with every single sip he took. After about half hour of driving, Rahul spoke out, finally.He told him everything how his mother died and how his father had married his own secretary claiming to be his new mother and every single bit of it. He had an emotional outburst that day. The deep oceans inside exploded. The dark secret that he had kept from everyone was following him like his own shadow. He felt lighter now. It was a feeling like someone had removed a huge stone from his heart. Two bottles down, Rahul felt a sense of wild elation. It took no time to realize that they were on the wrong side of the road but when they realized, it was too late.
Hope you all like it. To be continued. Don't forget to provide your valuable feedback :)