Let's Not Talk About That Night...

Here’s the fourth part of the Siddhant-Ishika story. Here are the links to the earlier chapters: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3. Go read those and then come back to find out what happened next.

At five in the morning, Ishika left Siddhant’s apartment, wearing a red kurta and white leggings. Siddhant paced after her. He wanted to see her off to her cab, but she stopped him by the elevator. She put a hand on his chest and pushed him back. Then the elevator door closed and she was gone. He went to the balcony and just got a glimpse of her walking towards the car downstairs. When she left, the exhaustion and the hopelessness of the previous night hit him hard and he collapsed on his bed. But he couldn’t sleep. Because he’d made a deal with the Devil. And the Devil had collected his dues right away.

As he lay on the bed, sleepless and disoriented, Siddhant looked back at the events of the previous night. He couldn’t help thinking about those glorious moments that made up that night, that night which was actually as dark and devious as could be. Siddhant and Ishika had finally met the second time last evening, after weeks of deliberation. She came to his apartment this time round and they hung out, talking and laughing, like they did over the phone. But Siddhant was quieter than usual. Ishika kept urging him to talk, but he was lost in the surrealistic feeling of having Ishika so close to him. As I had mentioned earlier, Siddhant had fallen in love with Ishika.

It was sudden and unceremonious, and it defied all logic. But it was strong and unwavering as well. He was in love, deeply, hopelessly and crazily. Even though they’d met just once before this, Siddhant had fallen for her and having her next to him was overwhelming and surreal. Ishika wasn’t in love with him yet and she was making it known, with every word. She wanted him to move on. She didn’t want him to be hurt. But Siddhant was in a different place altogether, finding strange optimism in the face of such utter and absolute rejection. He was hopeful and eager. And the desire and longing in his eyes, while it scared Ishika a little, also excited her. It was a gut reaction on her side.

Siddhant took her hand in his and looked into her eyes. Maybe he wanted her to read his feelings on his gleamy eyes and feel the same. She didn’t pull her hands away and Siddhant was grateful. He felt her warm hands, touched it all over, with an unparalleled urgency. He just wanted her to realize what she’d come to mean to him. What he was feeling for her was nothing short of devotion and it was driving him crazy. In the last three weeks when they’d been talking over video calls, Siddhant had captured several screen grabs where Ishika was smiling or laughing at something he’d said and now, looking at her face for real, he couldn’t help wondering at how beautiful she really was. Her wavy hair cradling her forehead from both the sides, her radiant cheeks curving voluptuously across the side of her face, and that one dimple which formed when she smiled. And that smile, that twinkly eyed smile that made the room light up when it appeared, was definitely something to die for.

“You know, I never let anyone hold my hands like this,” Ishika said, pensively, making Siddhant feel special. “But you’re a friend and you’ve become very special to me,” she continued, making Siddhant’s heart sink, “and I care for you and don’t want to see you hurt. That’s why you should let go of this silly notion that you’re in love with me.” Every time Ishika questioned his feelings, Siddhant would feel dejected and heartbroken. Because she was the only one who needed to know exactly how he felt for her. He kept holding her hand, playing with it. And they just quietly looked into each other’s eyes. While she wasn’t admitting it, she could sense the intensity of Siddhant’s emotions and it terrified her because he was headed towards heartbreak. His sincerity was constantly surprising her and it was also making her sensitive towards his feelings. She didn’t want him hurt. 

Siddhant made eggs and ramen for Ishika, because she insisted she wanted a light meal. She stood there looking at him prepping the meal. Her eyes were cryptic and didn’t reveal what she was feeling, but she liked how Siddhant carried himself in the kitchen, with an air of confidence. It was sexy. In the last three weeks since she first met Siddhant, Ishika had often asked herself why she wasn’t in love with him yet. 

After lunch, as the two sat there watching something on Netflix, Ishika noticed that he was staring at her. She asked him what he was looking at. He said he wanted to kiss her, without batting an eyelid. She was amused by his persistence. For the last three weeks, Siddhant had said the same thing to her every time they talked. She had told him he could kiss her cheeks as a friend, some days back. SO now, she just pointed to her cheeks and forehead gesturing an ‘A-Okay’ and put a cross over her lips and chin indicating they were off limit. Instantly, Siddhant leaned over and pressed a long lingering kiss on her right cheek while he pressed her left cheek with his hand. “Pushing it a little, aren’t we?” Ishika asked bemusedly. 

The warmth of her cheek on his lips felt like therapy. He had a tough time letting go. Siddhant kept leaning over to kiss her cheeks and forehead and Ishika was starting to regret her decision to let him have that. She had realized that Siddhant was like a baby in many aspects, a baby that was never content with what he got, always wanted more and more. But the kisses felt good, especially because of how earnest they were. He was treating her like a princess, his touch was firm but tender, his kisses were urgent but unhurried, certain and indulgent. She was feeling pampered by them, and a little woozy actually. It was like getting drunk with indulgence. “Okay, enough now,” she said and pushed him away. He was beginning to turn her on. 

The sun had set by this time and she started getting ready to leave. Siddhant immediately started pleading with her to stay the night, but Ishika said she didn’t want to, so he became quiet and started looking dejected. She tried to console him and gave him a hug. “Stay just for half an hour more,” Siddhant requested. It was really hard to say ‘no’ to such sincerity. She agreed and he just came close and kissed her cheeks out of joy, and this time, he didn’t stop at her cheeks, he just continued to kiss her neck and her ears. The physical reaction she felt was instantaneous and immense. She got goose bumps all over her arms and felt week in the knees.

Before she could react, Siddhant had put his arms round her waist and had pulled her close. He was holding her face close to his, their lips only inches away from each other. “I will not pull away from you,” she whispered, “you can go for the kiss, but only if you are okay doing it without any feelings, because I don’t feel the way you do.” He moved closer to her but couldn’t kiss her. He wanted “all of her”, like he’d told her several times before. He wanted her good, her bad and her ugly. He wanted her in health and in sickness. He wanted her happiness and her grief. He wanted all of her and he’d already given her all of him. But he couldn’t kiss her if she didn’t feel anything. He tried a few more times but he couldn’t.

And she was right there, her quivering lips near his, her body in his arms, her warmth seeping into his skin, her eyes looking cryptic and mysterious. He so wanted to kiss her, to feel her lips and what they represented. He wanted to see if she could really resist the feelings that he knew a kiss could invoke. So he started rationalizing with her. He didn’t have to do it without feelings, because his feelings didn’t change the situation one bit. Maybe he was bargaining with himself, because the moment he was convinced with his own argument, he placed his lips on hers. That was the deal with the Devil. And everything stopped for a moment.

And then, it all rushed past them at an alarming speed. They were kissing each other and had each other locked in the closest of embraces. He kissed her lips and her cheeks and moved to her neck, and as he did, she moved her hair away and bared her soft skin for him to plant those longing kisses, he’d been keeping back all this time. She whimpered as the touch of his lips on her neck sent shivers across her body. It was a purely physical reaction that her body was having, she told herself, as she kissed him back, matching his vigour with her raw energy. 

And for just a moment right there, the universe seemed to fall in place. Ishika’s kisses made him feel whole again, they made him feel alive. She was playful and her kisses were honest and loving, even though she kept trying to convince him that she didn’t feel anything and it was just physical. They joked about being “friends with benefits” and her “using him for his body” but none of it meant anything to him. In her arms, Siddhant discovered the real magnitude of the emotions he’d developed for Ishika. 

“You can have me now, if you want,” Ishika whispered to Siddhant. He just laughed and shook his head. He wanted to feel every bit of what was happening, every caress, every pinch, every bite and every breath. “It’s so late, now I have to stay the night,” Ishika sighed, “Was this your plan all along?” Siddhant laughed and kissed her some more. “Please don’t expect anything tomorrow. This doesn’t mean I am your girlfriend now. This doesn’t mean this will ever happen again. Will you be an adult about this?” Ishika had so many questions, and Siddhant just nodded to every one of her concerns. The fact was that even Siddhant didn’t know what would happen after this. He didn’t have any control over how his feelings would evolve and he didn’t want to worry about that. He just wanted to live that moment.

Siddhant and Ishika spent the night together. The passion was palpable and things happened. But she stressed at every step on the way, she had “no feelings for him”. It was purely physical. The Devil was about to claim his dues. After just a while, Ishika started freaking out about it, regretting having lost control of the moment. She knew he’d want her more now. She knew he couldn’t give any more. He was bound to be hurt and Ishika felt terrible about what she’d done. Siddhant couldn’t bear to see her like that and told her that she must not let what happened bother her. He assured her that he was happy and wouldn’t “bother her by having too many expectations”. But she kept stressing over it.

He tried to kiss her again, to make her worries go away. But she pushed him away. “We are done,” she warned him. He felt rejected and when he complained about it, she chided him: “Didn’t you say you wouldn’t expect anything? Isn’t this expectation?” To this, Siddhant tried to say something but Ishika said, “It’s my body. I have the right to say no.” And she was right. So Siddhant just agreed and apologized.

As he lay there, next to her, Siddhant kept thinking about what would happen next. Something told him that things would never go back to how they were. They had become very close friends, for the lack of a better word, in the last three weeks and he was afraid that was going to change. It scared him that this might be the beginning of the end. And as soon, as he closed his eyes, she kissed him. He was jolted back to reality, where he realized it was a dream, the first of many such dreams. Ishika was still lying next to him, holding her hands to her head in an expression of dismay. She was overwhelmed by what she’d done and just felt like running away. She couldn’t fall asleep because it wasn’t her bed and her head was aching like anything. So she decided to leave early in the morning and booked a cab for five am. 

And just like that, the night of merriment and passion had turned sour and wretched. Siddhant slept off soon and was woken up by Ishika when she was leaving. He felt his heart sinking when he saw her leaving and the expression she had on her face. She told him she’d need some time to come back from what had happened, because she was “disgusted by herself”. And then, she left, leaving Siddhant in a state of fear and dismay. He wanted her but he knew he might now lose her altogether. 

A hundred feelings kept him awake after that. And among those feelings were glimpses of last night. The way Ishika had kissed him while he was on an office call, just to annoy him but making him fall for her harder in the process. The feeling of happiness she had on her face when they joked about the whole thing. For a moment, Siddhant felt like things would work out. But a part of him knew they wouldn’t. And yet, he was clearer about three things more than life itself – 1. He was irrevocably in love with Ishika, 2. She wouldn’t love him back and 3. He wouldn’t be able to get over these feelings even if he tried.

Isn’t it just horrible when love isn’t reciprocated? I am all for happy endings and fairy tales but this is the reality we live in. Still, the writer in me is optimistic that there’s more to this tale. What happens next? Does Ishika come to terms with herself? Does Siddhant get over her? Is there a mystery character lurking just in the background who can change the dynamic of their relationship? Watch this space for the next chapter of this story.


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