Part Fifty Five (Read Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven | Part Twelve | Part Thirteen | Part Fourteen | Part Fifteen | Part Sixteen | Part Seventeen | Part Eighteen | Part Nineteen | Part Twenty | Part Twenty One | Part Twenty Two | Part Twenty Three | Part Twenty Four | Part Twenty Five | Part Twenty Six | Part Twenty Seven | Part Twenty Eight | Part Twenty Nine | Part Thirty | Part Thirty One | Part Thirty Two | Part Thirty Three | Part Thirty Four | Part Thirty Five | Part Thirty Six | Part Thirty Seven | Part Thirty Eight | Part Thirty Nine | Part Forty |Part Forty One | Part Forty Two | Part Forty Three | Part Forty Four | Part Forty Five | Part Forty Six | Part Forty Seven | Part Forty Eight | Part Forty Nine | Part Fifty | Part Fifty One | Part Fifty Two | Part Fifty Three and Part Fifty Four.)
When Manish finally walked out of the apartment to get groceries he was smiling. He had not expected Pallavi to take the initiative and do what she had done. She had surprised him yet again. Of all the women he had so far he had never let anyone do what he had allowed her to do. He was not the ‘woman-on-top’ kind of man. At least not until now.
He was about to walk towards the parking lot to get into his car but then he changed his mind and continued walking straight. When he looked up towards the balcony he saw Pallavi waiting for him. She waved to him and he waved back. He could get used to this, he thought momentarily but then shook his head. He never frequented the grocery store; all the stuff was home delivered to him. He decided to take a walk in search of one. As he stepped out of the gate he pulled out his mobile from jeans pocket and dialled Mansi’s number. She answered almost immediately.
“Hi” she said excitedly
“Hi. You are not at home? I had come to visit when I found some time off from attending to the guests.” Manish said.
“I am working.” Mansi replied, slightly disappointed that she had missed meeting him.
“How’s your ankle? Feeling better already?” Manish asked in concerned voice.
“Better. I am still using the walking stick you gave me.” Mansi said and smiled.
“When do we start our night shift?” Manish asked, even though he already knew the answer. He knew Mansi was doing Pallavi’s shift so she could not start night shift until Pallavi was back, rather, until Pallavi pretended to have returned from her hometown.
As expected, Mansi told him that they can start the shift as soon as Pallavi returned. Manish noticed the immediate change in her tone. She sounded as if she was troubled and not only because Pallavi was not in town; there was more to it.
Suddenly he remembered the call Pallavi was on when he had entered the bedroom. Had she called Mansi? What had she said? He decided to ask directly.
“Did you talk to Pallavi?” He asked hoping that he would get a direct and honest response.
“Yes.” Mansi said and after a break added, “She will be back soon and she said her folks are visiting her. I will not be staying in her apartment anymore.” Mansi did not know why she felt the need to tell Manish about not staying in Pallavi’s apartment anymore.
“Oh” Manish said and smiled. He could not believe he did that, but he could not stop grinning. Pallavi had lied to Mansi. She had lied only because she wanted to spend more time with him. Mansi out of Pallavi’s apartment meant only one thing. He was going to be invited to stay over. He’d love that, he thought. Staying in Pallavi’s apartment, sleeping on her bed; the bed Mansi had shared.
He’d ask a few friends of his to occupy his apartment and tell Pallavi that the guests he had been preparing the apartment for had come to stay. He could shift base to Pallavi’s apartment. Pallavi’s official return meant she would have to work day shift. He could ask her to take a leave under the pretext of wanting to spend time with her folks and they could spend the day making love, taking a bath together and lying naked in bed in each other’s arms. Pallavi not going to office also meant that Mansi would have to continue working Pallavi’s shift and he would not get to spend time with her. He could not decide what he wanted more – sex with Pallavi or time with Mansi.
He completely forgot about the call until his mobile beeped again. It was Mansi’s call. She had perhaps disconnected the call and called him back again. He was not in the mood to talk so he disconnected the call and texted her that he was back with the guests.
He hailed a cab and went to the nearest supermarket. On his way back home, he got out of the cab at some distance from the society and walked to the nearest medical store and bought a flavoured condom; he wanted to try something new. He smiled as he thought about it. Next, he visited a florist and bought some roses. He was still smiling as he entered the gates. He looked up involuntarily and saw Pallavi standing at the balcony. She smiled as she saw him and rushed back in.
When he reached the apartment the door was ajar. He stepped in and Pallavi took the grocery bags from his hands. She saw the bouquet but did not take it from his hand. Manish followed Pallavi to the kitchen and gave her the bouquet and kissed her on the lips. Then, he took out the condom from his jeans pocket and kept it on the dining table.
“Dessert” he said and Pallavi blushed.
He walked to the bedroom and undressed. He let Pallavi watch him as he put on comfortable clothes. He would have loved to try on the condom but he was hungry, hungry for food. His stomach gave a loud growl and Pallavi laughed out loud. Had it been someone else he would have been offended but he joined Pallavi in laughter as they both walked back to the kitchen.
Pallavi helped him with preparations but he did the cooking part. He noticed Pallavi watching his every movement, mesmerised by him. She was falling in love with him, or maybe, she was already in love with him. He thought about it; thought what it meant and how should he deal with it. He decided to let it be for the moment, pretend not to notice; deal with it when the time came. For now, the lunch was ready and it smelled good. He knew he was a good cook but this time he had outdone himself. He knew Pallavi would be impressed. She asked if she could taste but he did not let her.
“Go back to your apartment” he said. Pallavi looked at him, shocked.
“Put on something nice. Something that I would love to take off later.” He winked and kissed her on the lips.
She turned around to go but Manish called out her name. “Make sure it is not too difficult to take off or else I might rip it off.” He said and smiled as he saw Pallavi blushing yet again.
The moment Pallavi was out of the apartment he closed the door and rushed back to the bedroom. He took out his mobile from his jeans pocket and checked the messages. Mansi had replied that she understood and that she would be waiting for his call. He deleted the message thread and the call from the log. He switched off the mobile and kept it back in the jeans pocket.
He put on one of his favourite suits and put on some perfume. He was going to make the lunch special. He brought a bottle of wine from the bar and placed it on the dining table. He took out a candle from the cabinet but put it back again. Candle during daytime did not make sense. Maybe at night, yet another special meal and dessert, he thought.
Pallavi was taking more time than expected. He decided to taste the food. He had just finished tasting the whole course when the doorbell rang. He straightened his tie and walked towards the door. He opened the door and said, “You are late.”
“I know; I should have come earlier.” The woman at the door said and smiled. She was not Pallavi.
“What are you doing here?” Manish asked.