Autumn - The Last Leaf: Chapter 4,5 and 6

(Adult Content)

Autumn - The Last Leaf: Chapter 1,2 and 3

Chapter 4: A New Life

When the group decided to leave Neha’s house Vishaal hugged Neha and she felt something deep inside her, which she had never felt before. Was this love or lust? As the group departed and she was alone in the house, she thought about this. She reminisced about all those days when they were together and standing at the place where Neha was right now, each and every action seemed to be love. The caring and the sharing, everything depicted love. They had taken each other so much for granted that their unspoken feelings were like a blind spot.

Neha decided to give more time to this new aspect of their relationship. Their college was already over and soon she intended to leave India to visit her parents, and Vishaal had plans to return to his hometown. She wanted to see if this feeling in her heart remained even after being separated from each another. Before leaving India, Neha met Vishaal for a couple of times. She tried to remain calm from the outside but from within, her emotions were like the waves of the ocean, beating against her heart with fury and begging her to confess her feelings to him. Not now, Neha decided. More time she spent with Vishaal, less awkward she felt. Slowly and steadily she got used to flowing with the tide and letting the feeling soak her completely. But, the toughest hurdle to overcome was to know how Vishaal felt about her, and also make him understand what she was feeling for him deep down in her heart.

Finally the day came when they decided to be separated and move on with their respective lives. They both promised to write to each another about the updates of their lives. Anyways, they were going to meet again to collect their documents of completion. This time, Neha took the initiative and hugged Vishaal and when they separated, there were tears of separation in her eyes, which she wiped off immediately.

For reasons not known to him, Vishaal was feeling uneasy going away from Neha. He called her back and hugged her once again and kissed her on her cheek. For a moment Neha thought that she spotted some unusual sparkle in Vishaal’s eyes. Neha got into her car and moved away from their meeting place and Vishaal stood there rooted to the ground watching her go. Neha looked at him through the rear-view mirror and smiled. He loves me, she concluded as she wheeled her car out of sight. This latest update was going to make it difficult for her to stay away from Vishaal but at the same time it was going to act like a catalyst for her to make up her mind about their relationship.

Finally Neha packed her luggage and got ready to leave the country. Vishaal, as expected, was at her door right on time! He helped her with the luggage and saw her off at the airport. While flying, Neha constantly thought of Vishaal and the last few days she spent with him. After some time she drifted off into her dreams of Vishaal.

Meanwhile, Vishaal readied his luggage and called up his parents to inform them that he would be coming home after a few days. Before that he had some other place to visit on request of his parents. He booked his ticket to the desired destination and as he was seated in his bus he thought of Neha and the last few days he had spent with her. There was definitely something Neha was hiding from him. What was it? More he thought about it more confused he was. He let that thought take a backseat as he thought about the forthcoming days of his life. He had completed his business management and with the help of his father he would start his own business and then he would settle-down in life. Before taking that final decision of his life it was essential that he speak to Neha first. He smiled as he thought of her and rested his head on the headrest of his seat and closed his eyes. Life had taken them on different path but they were destined to meet again. Neither one of them knew what the future had in store for them. Sometimes, distance brings two people closer than when they are in contact. Neha, for sure, now believed in this.

As she wrote letters to Vishaal and read his letters she realized that she was missing him. She needed him for what he was to her long before the dream she had. By this time she was sure that she was in love with Vishaal. The dream had only made her realize the fact that had been covered with dust for so long. She was used to depending on Vishaal and she enjoyed that feeling. She never imagined that a time would come in their lives when Vishaal would depend on her.

Neha’s parents saw the change in her and one day they asked her the most expected question. Was she in love? To which they got the predictable answer, yes she was! Her parents knew about Vishaal since a long time and as per what she had told them about him they knew that Neha was in love with him since day one. But she was simply blind to the fact and a day would come when she would realize the truth- that this is what has happened. Her parents were happy for her. Neha was tempted to tell Vishaal about all this but she held herself back. She wanted to tell him when they would meet in person.

One day, as Vishaal and Neha were chatting on yahoo he sent her a photograph of himself. There was a girl in the photograph standing next to him and Vishaal had put his arm around the girl. Unconsciously Neha blurted out and asked him who the girl was. The reply she got gave her some relief. Vishaal said that the girl in the photograph was his sister. The same night Neha had a dream in which she saw Vishaal’s sister with a guy. But that guy was not Vishaal. The couple seemed to be very much in love. In their next chat session Neha told Vishaal about her dream and he said that everything that Neha saw in her dream was true. It had happened exactly as she had stated but it had happened long back. Now his sister was happily married to the same man.

That night Neha thought to herself, Weird things were happening to her. All had started when she had miraculously saved Vishaal’s life by acting as per her dream and then she had told Cathy about Roger and then Cathy’s episode. All this was before the events had actually occurred. Almost all of these episodes had occurred immediately after Neha’s dream. The only exception was her dream about Vishaal and her.

The dream about Vishaal’s sister was different than the rest of her dreams! She had this dream when the event had already taken place! How many more surprises were waiting for her in future? Neha was unsure of this but she was sure of one thing. Nothing could stop her from expressing her feelings for Vishaal when she would meet him again in India. Neha was counting the days to return to India and on the other hand Vishaal was occupied with a few personal problems. His father refused to finance his business. Now, he had to get the help from someone else. He decided to talk to Neha about this. There was another problem that bothered him but he was not sure whether he would be able to share it with Neha.

Chapter 5: Shattered Dreams

Time was speeding by! On one hand Neha was happy that the day to meet Vishaal was coming close and on other hand Vishaal was worried about his future. He thought of mentioning this to Neha but he changed his mind because he did not want load her with his burdens.

Vishaal had not even mentioned his trip to some other place before going home. He knew he would have to tell her one day because she was his best friend but he wanted to disclose it to her at the right time. Unfortunately the time to take the decision came before he could tell Neha. Before returning to India, Neha was supposed to go on a short vacation with her parents and thus it was not possible for her to keep in touch. Neha had a feeling that Vishaal wanted to tell her something but was holding it back. Perhaps, just like she did! Just a few more days and then everything would be as it was meant to be. Their lives would change forever! Neha thought. Though it was true, Neha was not aware how it was going to change Vishaal’s and her life. Finally Vishaal took the decision all by himself.

Finally the day dawned when Neha was supposed to return back to India where her love was waiting for her. Neha’s parents smiled on seeing the enthusiasm in Neha to leave. They knew they would miss Neha when she would be in India and Neha would also miss them but right now Neha’s heart and mind were occupied with Vishaal. She spent her day thinking about her meeting with Vishaal. She rehearsed the airport scenario in her mind several times. She knew that the first thing she would do would be rush into Vishaal’s arms. She even fantasized kissing him on his lips but then she was sure that she would not do such a thing. She made up her mind that she would not wait for Vishaal to confess his feelings for her in fact she would propose marriage to him when Vishaal accompanied her to her house to drop her luggage. During the rest of the journey Neha tried contemplating other issues apart from Vishaal. She knew about Vishaal’s dream of setting up his own business. She had even talked to her father about the same. Her father was ready to finance Vishaal for his business. She would assist Vishaal in his business. They could be professional as well as life partners. A smile crossed her lips as she thought of her wonderful future with Vishaal. Life was indeed beautiful. Neha closed her eyes and tried to relax. The flight was taking ages to land. It seemed as if she was flying for days! Finally the airhostess announced that they would be landing in few hours time.

Vishaal got ready to pick up Neha from the airport. He had set everything to welcome her. He was already there, standing at the exit gate when Neha walked towards the gate. Vishaal waved to her as he saw her and Neha smiled back. She was holding her overcoat in one hand and was wheeling her luggage with the other. She wanted to rush into Vishaal’s arm but something that she saw stopped her from doing so. There was an unknown lady standing next to Vishaal. Neha walked towards Vishaal and gave him a friendly hug. Vishaal then introduced her to the lady next to him. All of a sudden Neha’s world came crashing down. She was not sure whether she was feeling giddy or the entire world was spinning around her. No, this was not true … it wasn’t happening. It was a dream and she was still in the plane. She felt sick when the truth dawned on her. It was not a dream! Vishaal had indeed married the woman who was standing next to him. Neha shook hands with the woman Vishaal introduced as Sheetal and masked her surprise and pain with an artificial smile. They walked towards the taxi stand. While in flight Neha wanted Vishaal to accompany her home but now, under current circumstances she preferred being left alone. She wanted to cry, wanted to scream, wanted to punch anyone who tried to mess with her at that moment. She wanted to bring out her frustration but with Vishaal and his wife next to her it was impossible.

Neha said that she could go home alone but Vishaal insisted that he would drop her home. They got into the cab and started towards Neha’s house but the cab halted at a place before reaching her house and Sheetal got out of the cab. She walked into a building as the cab proceeded further towards her final destination. Vishaal told Neha that he had taken a small flat in that building and had recently shifted there with Sheetal. He has ruined his and my life, Neha thought as the cab kept running at a constant speed. Neha wanted to ask him why he had done this but before she could speak, another terror struck her like a sword slashing her heart. The dream! It was not meant to come true. It was not a premonition but an ordinary dream. She found it tough to believe. But if it was a premonition then with respect to the recent happenings it was a wrong thing to happen between them. She was not ready for an extra-martial affair. What if the dream was meant to happen when Vishaal would come home to drop her? No, she had to stop it from happening. She was unaware that Vishaal was watching her and was perhaps able to understand her turmoil.
“I am sorry Neha! I wanted to tell you about Sheetal. I was just waiting for the right time.”
Neha looked at Vishaal and smiled and turned her head to look outside the window. She did not want Vishaal to see her crying. Suddenly Neha spoke,
“Vishaal! I forgot to tell you, I had promised a friend to see her before going home…”
Vishaal took her hand in his and said, “Let’s go home first and then you can go wherever you wish to go!”

Both of them were silent for the rest of the ride and as the cab came to a halt in front of Neha’s bungalow Vishaal took out his wallet to pay but Neha immediately paid the driver from her purse and got down from the cab. She was about to lift her luggage but Vishaal took it in his hands. As she entered the bungalow she turned around and said, “Thanks for your help Vishaal, I really appreciate it. I think you should go back home, your wife would be waiting for you.” Vishaal said nothing. He kept the luggage on the side and turned towards the door and then, instead of walking out he closed the door. Neha moved back when she saw Vishaal doing so. Vishaal turned around and walked towards Neha.
“I know Neha I have hurt you tremendously. I have broken the trust you showed in me as a friend”, Vishaal said.
As a friend! Vishaal you are definitely blind, Neha thought.
Then before Neha could react, Vishaal took her in his arms. For a moment Neha felt relieved but as Neha felt Vishaal tightening his grip on her she moved back and wiping her tears said,
“Vishaal, I am really happy for you! Just a little surprised that you never mentioned Sheetal to me.”

Chapter 6: Another Leaf Falls

Vishaal was at a loss of words. He whispered sorry and walked out of the bungalow. Neha ran towards the door and closed it. She was feeling sick, she was feeling lost. She was unable to understand what to do. She wanted to cry but damn tears, they refused to flow. She looked around for something on which she could take out her frustration! She fell down on her knees and started crying. A few moments later she switched on her mobile and called up her father. She told him what Vishaal had done. Her father tried to console her but he knew it was in vain. He requested her to return home as soon as she could.

Neha disconnected the call and walked to the bedroom. Her entire world had collapsed within few hours. She sat on the bed for a long time staring out of the window. The moonlit night turned into dawn but Neha was still sitting at the same place. The dried tears on the cheeks seemed like frozen lava. Though Neha was not crying now her eyes were still red. The sun was now above the horizon line. Neha got up from the bed and walked to the washroom, splashed cold water on her face and washed away the dried tears. She walked to the living room and brought her luggage to the bedroom, took out only one set of clothes and closed the bag again. Neha walked back to the washroom, removed her clothes and stood under the shower and let the cold water wash away the pain. But the pain stuck to her soul like a parasite. Closing her eyes for some time she thought deeply. When Neha came out of the washroom wrapped in a towel, the look on her face was different than what it was like as she had entered the washroom. She put on her clothes and then opened her bag and took out other clothes and kept it in her cupboard. She was not going back! She was not going to run away.

When Neha walked out of the bungalow she was a new woman. She wheeled out her car from the garage. The pain still lingered on her inside but from outside she was smiling. That is what life had done to her. It had changed her vibrant and expressive face into a mask. When she went to the college to collect the completion documents, her friends looked at her with sympathetic eyes. Everyone seemed to be shocked seeing the way Neha presented herself. Everyone had assumed that after hearing about Vishaal’s marriage she would break down but here she was just as she was before smiling and waving! No one but she knew that the news had broken her down but she had risen again like a phoenix. Love was what had destroyed her and pain was like the ashes out of which she was born again!

When Vishaal and Neha came face to face he could make out that she had not slept the entire night. Neha said that she could not sleep because of jet lag and Vishaal believed her because she was smiling and there was no sign of pain on her face. She behaved in a normal manner as it used to be in the old days. But one thing had definitely changed between them. Vishaal failed to influence her as he did before she had left India. She was back to where she had started from… being friends with Vishaal! But she knew it would be difficult. Hence she had made up her mind to return home as soon as she got the documents. She felt that India was not a place for her but then she had changed her mind and decided to face the situation.

Vishaal and Neha were sitting in the canteen sipping their coffee amidst wolf-eyes when Sheetal entered the canteen. Neha was the first person to see her coming and she waved to her. Vishaal saw Neha waving to someone and then turned his head. The expression on his face changed somewhat but almost immediately it was replaced by a smile. He waved to Sheetal as she walked towards their table. If Vishaal thought that no one had seen that look on his face he was wrong because Neha had spotted it. Sheetal sat next to Vishaal and kissed him on his cheek then she turned to Neha to ask about her results. Both Neha and Vishaal had cleared the exams with good marks. Neha called out for the waiter and ordered snacks for them
“A treat from Vishaal and me for our results!” Neha said and smiled.
As she sipped her coffee she eyed Sheetal to see her reaction and Sheetal clearly seemed to be disturbed by the phrase “Vishaal and me”. When Neha got up to leave after finishing her coffee Sheetal invited her home for dinner. Vishaal looked at her, surprised. He clearly did not have any idea that Sheetal would invite Neha for dinner. Neha glanced at Vishaal and then accepted Sheetal’s invitation. When Neha walked out of the canteen she did not look back but many eyes followed her till she was out of the building.

Neha spent the rest of the day preparing for the evening. She wanted to present herself in most perfect and positive manner. She bought a new dress for herself and a gift for Sheetal and few gifts for Vishaal and a bottle of Champagne.

Neha looked stunning in her bottle-green sleeveless silk dress with a deep neck and she was about to wear her emerald necklace when Vishaal rang the doorbell. She kept the necklace on the bed and went to open the door. Vishaal came inside and handed over a bouquet he had bought for her. Red roses, he knew she loved red roses. She took the bouquet and placed it in the flower-vase kept on the center-table. She requested Vishaal to help her with the necklace. As Vishaal put the necklace around her neck and was busy trying to finish the job, Neha stared at him through the mirror. When he finished with the necklace she asked him to wait for some time till she put on her earrings. She took out the matching emerald rings from the box and as she was wearing them she realized that Vishaal was staring at her. She turned around and asked,
“How am I looking?” Vishaal smiled and said,
“As always! Beautiful!”
She walked to him and gave him a hug. Everything was as it was before … wasn’t it?

Autumn - The Last Leaf: Chapter 7,8 and 9


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