Moving On... Part 4

Moving On... Part 1 | Moving On... Part 2 | Moving On... Part 3

The other day when Sneha woke up, she was sleeping on the sofa and Avinash was not around. After some time he came out of the bedroom and smiled at Sneha.
“Good morning.”
Sneha smiled and wished him.
After some time Avinash dropped Sneha at her house. Unfortunately Sneha’s father saw them from the window. The moment she entered the house she was asked for explanation. Her parents could not believe that she had stayed overnight at Avinash’s house. Her father would have slapped her had she not began crying. Her parents looked at one another. She told them that she loved Avinash but he did not love her. She told them exactly what had happened at Avinash’s residence and her parents knew that she was not lying. As her father walked close to her she went in his arms.

Sneha’s mother did not know how to react. It was true that Sneha’s parents were orthodox but they were more concerned about Sneha and hence when they learned that she was hurt they wanted to help their daughter.
With a heavy heart they allowed her to go to France. They knew she needed to be alone. They also knew that Maya would take care of her.

Hence today when Sneha’s mother had called up Sneha could not tell her mother that she had met Avinash. She would not understand.
Before leaving India Sneha had helped Avinash to get closer to Sandhya and at the same time she managed to stay away from her.
Sneha had not thought that Avinash would remember anything about what she had said that night but she was wrong. Because the day before her flight to France Avinash had called her up and from the way he spoke Sneha got the hint that he was feeling bad that she had to leave the country because of him. She realized that he was aware of her feelings for him. That did not help. At least not now!
Before disconnecting the call Avinash had said, “You are the best friend I have got.”

Sneha closed her eyes and tears rolled out from the corners. Maya stood at the bedroom door, staring at Sneha. After some time she walked out. She did not want Sneha to know that she had been a spectator to Sneha’s display of emotions.

A day or two later, as Sneha was fit to go to the office she called up Avinash to tell him so. As Sneha had expected he wanted to meet. Sneha agreed. She wanted to meet him too. Thinking about their night together had resulted in resurfacing of her feelings for Avinash. She knew that he was married now, but she felt there was nothing wrong in dwelling in that feeling, at least from her side. For the first time, however, she could not share this information with Maya. The last few calls of Avinash were not discussed either. As she got ready to go to the office she decided to wear something special. Maya noticed it. She was also aware that Sneha was keeping secrets from her. Maya was not feeling bad about it. But she once mentioned to Mr. Thomson that she was worried about the change in Sneha.
Maya’s marriage day was coming closer and soon she would be moving to Bangalore. Sneha would come too but after a few days Sneha was bound to return to Bombay. Then what? Maya was worried.
Mr. Thomson had said that something was about to happen, Maya prayed that it should happen before her marriage so that she could be with Sneha.

“What are you thinking?” Sneha asked looking at Maya.
“You have a weird look on your face.” Sneha was trying to know whether Maya knew that she was about to meet Avinash.
“You realized it now? Sanchit says I have that look on my face almost all the time”
Maya tried to sound normal.
Sneha smiled.
“I will be late to return from office.”
Sneha was thankful that Maya did not ask her the reason, but then, she never did.
It was Sneha who offered explanations all the time. If someone had changed, it was Sneha and not Maya.
Sneha got into a cab and went to meet Avinash at the same spot. She did not go to office. On one hand Sneha felt bad that she lied to Maya but on the other hand she was looking forward to a wonderful day with Avinash. He had said that he would make it special.

When Sneha reached the café, Avinash was already sitting there, waiting for her. He was talking to someone when she sat across him. He was telling the person on phone that he was busy in some meeting.
“Mobile phones, what a discovery” Sneha thought.
Avinash winked as if he read her mind.

He disconnected the call and then switched it off.
“I do not want to be disturbed.” He said.
Sneha smiled.
Avinash waited for Sneha to do the same but she did not switch off her cell.

He made a mental note that he would have to switch it off later as he had done when they had met for the first time. Sneha had left her purse at the table when she had gone to use the restroom and Avinash had taken her mobile out of the purse and switched it off.
“What are you thinking?”
“How to make the day special” Avinash replied.
Sneha smiled.
Avinash noticed the change in Sneha. He realized that she was more comfortable with him today than she was for the first time. “Good”, he thought.
They finished their coffee and then Avinash offered her the red rose that was kept in the vase on the restaurant table.
“It is the lady’s birthday today” he lied to the waiter who saw him picking up the rose. The waiter smiled and wished Sneha.

After some time they were walking along the seashore hand in hand. Even today, Sneha’s dress was sticking awkwardly to her body and to add to it she was wearing a deep neck and a revealing dress. Avinash observed Sneha from the corner of his eyes and when he read her body language he felt aroused.

He had done a lot of thinking since their last meeting. He had not been able to figure out why he felt like this in presence of Sneha when he had no such feelings for her. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that he was aware that Sneha still loved him.
Sneha did not realize that the physiological changes that were taking place in her were so evident to Avinash. Had she known this she would have not let it happen. After walking for some distance Avinash placed his arm around her waist and they continued to walk. Sneha hesitated for a moment but later on she became comfortable.
As they reached their favorite spot they both sat down and Avinash started talking. General topics, nothing specific! At one point of time he placed his hand on her thigh but Sneha never realized it because she was looking at the horizon.
After spending some time at the shore, Avinash took her to watch a movie.
However, during the movie, Avinash was looking more at Sneha than at the screen. He slid his hand in hers as they watched the movie and when the couple in the movie kissed Sneha could feel Avinash tightening his grip on her hand but almost immediately he took out his hand from hers. Sneha smiled. She liked it. Liked how Avinash had kept his limits.

After the movie they spent some more time talking and having snacks in a restaurant. When it was late in the evening Avinash offered to drop Sneha. On the way back, Avinash applied sudden brakes many a times even when it was not needed and every time Sneha’s body touched his body he smiled. Sneha did not see this.
When Sneha was climbing the stairs to go to her apartment she could hear the door of Thomson residence being opened. For the first time Sneha wanted to run. For the first time she did not want to come face to face with the Thomson’s. She took a quick turn to the next floor when the door was finally opened and by the time someone walked out, Sneha was in front of her apartment door. Had she slowed down to see the person who had walked out she would have been surprised to see Maya coming out of Thomson residence because Sneha was not aware that Maya was on talking terms with the Thomson’s.
Sneha rang the doorbell a few times before searching her purse for the keys. She opened the door and was about to walk inside when she heard someone climbing the stairs behind her.
“Hi” Maya was surprised to see Sneha. She feared that Sneha had seen her coming out of Thomson residence.
“Where were you?”
“Down” Maya winked.
Sneha assumed that she had been to meet Sanchit.
Both of them walked in together.

Maya was waiting for Sneha to say something. Sneha looked at Maya and said, “What?”
“Nothing.” Maya said as she went to the washroom. Sneha did not understand anything.
Sneha took out her mobile from the purse and saw that it was switched off even today. She decided that she had to do something about the battery.
She mentioned it to Maya as they sat in the living room watching television.
It was then that Maya understood. The call was disconnected by Avinash and it was Avinash who had switched off the cell. Perhaps he had done that the last time too. This time in addition to switching off Sneha’s mobile he even had the courage to disconnect Maya’s call. “The mischief has begun,” Maya thought.
“Are you not behaving a bit strange?” Sneha asked
“Me?” Maya asked.
Before Sneha could make out anything from the statement she changed the topic
“I am a bit nervous you know.”
“It happens when you get married for the first time.” Sneha winked.
Maya smiled.
“So, when do we leave for Bangalore?” Maya asked
Sneha was silent before speaking again.
“We leave whenever you wish Maya.”
“Should I tell mom that we would be in Bangalore day after tomorrow?”
“Fine, I will talk to my boss about the leave.” Sneha said.
She made a mental note about telling this to Avinash.

Maya got up from the sofa and called up her mother. Later on she said that her mother would arrange for the tickets. Maya did not wish to leave but her mother had been persistently reminding her that she had to be there in Bangalore. She could not explain to her mother as to why she did not want to leave Bombay as yet. She had been to Thomson residence to talk about this and Mr. Thomson had suggested that she should leave. Maya had even informed them about Sneha’s secret keeping and they had not been surprised.
At night, as both of them slid into the bed Maya turned to Sneha and said, “You know Sneha, I always wanted a sister and when you came to our house I thanked God for sending you to me.”
Sneha looked at Maya and smiled.
“Thanks for everything.” Sneha said turning to face Maya.
“You have given me the most precious gift Sneha.”
Sneha knew that Maya was talking about Sanchit.

They spent some time talking about their days together before falling asleep.
The next day morning Sneha left a note for Maya in which she confessed that she had been secretly talking to Avinash and had even met him again.
Maya read the note after Sneha left for office.
Sneha tried to call Avinash from the office but he was not available. Finally towards the end of the day she managed to get connected but Avinash attended the call and said he was busy and would talk to her later.
Sneha disconnected the call. She was tempted to message him that she was leaving for Bangalore but finally decided against it.

During the packing, Sneha expected Maya to speak something about the note. But that was the problem with Sneha. She expected too much whereas Maya was totally opposite. She never gave explanations and never expected explanations. The packing was done and Maya called up Sanchit. As they were busy talking Sneha watched television.
The next day, they left their house earlier than needed. They spent some time with the Thomson’s. Sneha did most of the talking. Maya was silent.
On the way to the airport Sneha switched off her mobile. She did not want Avinash to get in touch, at least not now. She would talk to him after coming back.
Sneha’s parents were glad to see Sneha and when they saw Sneha smiling, they were happy!
Sneha spoke to her father while her mother was busy preparing Sneha’s favorite dish for her. The entire house was bustling with noises of all the relatives and workers making arrangement for the wedding.
When Sneha’s mother kept the plate on the bed, Sneha moved back making place for her mother to sit. Tears welled up in her mother’s eyes as Sneha said that she wanted her mother to feed her.
Sneha’s parents welcomed the change in Sneha and were happy beyond limits.
When Sneha joined Maya in her room, Sneha’s parents had a talk. They were very happy to see Sneha smiling. According to them she had finally got over Avinash.
It was true in one way. By flowing with the tide and accepting Avinash as a friend, Sneha had occupied the driver’s seat to wheel her life in the right direction. She spent some time with Avinash, something she should have done long back. She should have not run away from the situation. She had finally accepted that Avinash was out of her life forever.
Sneha was not aware what she had done. She had not realized that Avinash was getting attracted to her. She failed to see how he felt aroused at the touch of her skin.
Sneha was unaware what the future had in stock for her. For the time being she kept Avinash’s thoughts at bay. Right now, Maya’s wedding was important. It was the time for two lovers to come together and celebrate their love.
Sneha spent as much possible time with Maya as she could. Maya was happy to see Sneha happy and joining the celebration.
Sneha attended all the functions, sitting next to Maya and she even danced to the numbers that were played on the night prior to the wedding day.

On the wedding day however Sneha suddenly became silent and melancholic. Maya was unsure of the reason but Sneha’s parents told Maya that the previous night they had seen Sneha crying in her room holding a photograph in hand. Maya’s and her photograph, which they had clicked when they were in France. Maya smiled with tears in her eyes. She walked to where Sneha was standing, keeping a watch on the decorations, and hugged her.
For a moment the workers looked at the sisters but later continued working as the sisters wiped each other’s tears.
During the wedding ceremony Sneha sat next to Maya observing each and every ritual.
All went well and when the time for separation came near, all the eyes were moist with tears. Even the relatives who had never seen Maya before cried as if she had grown up in front of their eyes and was now leaving them! Maya looked at Sneha and they laughed. When all the guests departed and only close family members remained the atmosphere became truly melancholic. Maya’s parents cried and so did Sneha’s mother. Sneha’s father, however, was deep in thoughts. Looking at him Sneha could make out that he was thinking about her marriage.

Part 5 (concluding part)