“Well that was a hearty dinner…” Vedh spoke as Iniya got inside the car. Even after spending the entire evening with her he was still not able to digest the fact that she looked amazingly beautiful in saree.
“Yeah says the guy who hesitated to come in the first place.” She was completely oblivious to the looks she was getting from her friend. It was her mentor’s wedding and of course she had to attend it. But Iniya needed some company. She knew nobody except the groom himself.
“Hey! He is your mentor. I hardly ever spoke to him.” Putting on his seat belt Vedh tried not to keep staring at his childhood friend. He did not want to make things awkward. “Well here is your long drive that you have been nagging me about…” he almost flinched expecting a smack from her.
When he didn’t get any he was surprised to see her just giving a stern look. They both promised to spend more time with each other after high school and it got increasingly hard with each year. The fact that both of them attended school in different cities now did not help. She came home once a month and that weekend would be when he had to get on field. Their schedules hardly gave time for telephonic conversations too.
“That is one more broken promise from you. You couldn’t even keep up the simplest one.”
“You promised to take me to your secret beach…”
“Yes! Oh! That is all I get from you…”
Suddenly the mood inside the car had changed. Changed to what? Vedh couldn’t pin point. He felt bad for Iniya. He knew she hardly had any friends at her school. She comes home often just to meet him and their other friends.
“Okay let me make it up to you. I will take you to that beach.” He spoke with a slight smile. “I hope you don’t have like a curfew at home.” He added.
Her smile just turned into a grin. “No curfew. I can go as late as I want to.” One could almost feel the excitement in her voice. Vedh was not sure if she was worked up about going to the beach or she was animated because it was already 10 pm and now this guy was offering to take her to a secluded beach. Either way it was decided and he drove to the said destination. Gladly it was a short drive from the wedding location.
Iniya just sat in the car looking at the beach that was devoid of any artificial light. There weren’t any houses or buildings nearby. Even street lights weren’t set up near that place. Except for the brightly shining moon there was no light. Vedh had asked her to sit inside the car while he checked out if the place was safe. She complied. Better safe than sorry.
“The coast is clear, pretty literally.” He smiled as he opened the door for her. She took his hand and walked through the sand. She had kicked off her high heels back in the car. But walking on the beach sand while wearing a silk saree was not exactly easy. She was struggling to hold the saree together. The sounds of the wave was all they both heard. Not a single word was uttered, Knowing each other for more than a decade they both had gotten pretty close to each other over the time. So much so that Vedh had grown very fond of her. And when they had to go away for college it was not easy on him. The distance made him understand how important she was to him. More than that it made him realise the feelings he had for her. They were meeting almost after six months and her turning up in a saree didn’t help matters much.
He was fighting the temptation to just hug her now. There she was standing right next to him like an angel under moon light. She had always been the tomboy like girl with him. Iniya was the kind of girl who had more boys as her friends than girls. Vedh was one of the few who knew how much of a girly girl she was. But suddenly today she looked very lady like. She was no more the 11 year old girl he had befriended all those years ago. She had grown up into a graceful woman.
“What are you looking at?” His train of thoughts came crashing down when she asked that question. He hadn’t realised that he was starring at her all this while.
“Oh just wondering if you had lost weight. You look tinier than ever.” he teased and hoped she bought it.
“I am not tiny… I weigh a good 50 kilos” she turned back to look at the sea.
“Seriously? Then I can lift you easily!” he laughed.
“No you cannot. You are not THAT strong.”
“Wanna bet?” he said as she backed off a little.
“Nope…” she backed up a little more. “Because you will fail miserably and put me down trying to lift me…” she stuck her tongue out.
“Let me be the judge of that woman.” he got to her in no time and lifted her up easily.
As her giggles filled the air he twirled with Iniya still in his arms.
“Put me down…” she tried to yell amidst her laughter. It had been a while since she laughed that much.
As he loosened his grip on her she could keep her feet tip toed on the ground. They both were eye level now. His grip tightened again. Almost as if he didn’t want to let go of her. A new found confidence took over Vedh as he stared into her eyes. For a moment he let his guard down.
‘To hell with it…’ he thought as he pressed his lips over hers.
He was surprised when he felt her return the kiss. He could feel her hands wrap around his shoulder. He smiled into the kiss before breaking to breathe. She had the faintest shade of pink painted all over her face. She was looking at the ground. They were not hugging anymore.
“Its getting late. Lets go home.” she spoke before walking towards the car.
Vedh did not understand what was going on. He silently followed her and started the car.
She did not dare look at him. Her heart was beating at an alarming rate and Iniya was not sure how to take things. Her friend had just kissed her. Her best friend in the whole wide world had just kissed her. Which meant he had feelings for her. For how long has he been harbouring such feelings, she did not know. But more than his actions she was shocked at her own actions. She returned the kiss.
When her best friend kissed her, she kissed him back. She did not know what took over her. She wanted to talk. But no words were coming out. Silence was never bad thing among them. Right now she was not sure if it was a good thing or not. Does this mean she likes him like that? She had never seen him as anything but a friend. Even when their mutual friends teased them about it, it wasn’t a thought that crossed her mind much. He was her best friend.
He still is. Suddenly she felt a bit of anger surfacing. The guy she had trusted the most had just done a daring thing. He stole her first kiss without asking her. He stole something that is never recoverable. On the other hand she had let him. She was even happy to hand it to him. Why? Iniya was not able to figure out why. She looked to her right. Vedh was just driving them home. His eyes were set on the road. Every now and then he would look at her. Iniya just looked at her hands which were placed on her lap. But she was stealing glances at her male friend as often as he did. He was dressed quite well today. She hadn’t noticed it but he wore that expensive watch that she had gifted him on their farewell day. He was rather a handsome guy. She knew that he has been approached by quite the number of girls in the past. He never went out with any of them. Now it made sense why.
‘Has he been in love with me for such a long time?’ she wondered.
So what now? Are they a couple now? Or do they just forget this night and go about their usual lives? What happens from now? Paranoia hit her as she thought of scenarios where they wouldn’t work out as a couple. She suddenly felt the need for some fresh air. Should she be happy that this happened or should she get angry and sad that it did happen? A million questions arose in her mind. All of which screeched to a halt when the car stopped in front of her apartment gate.
They both stayed silent. The tension was so thick it could be cut with a knife. Silently she got out of the car when he said “Go home and text me.”
She almost stopped dead in her tracks.
This was a habit between them whenever they met. He would end it with the same sentence. She smiled warmly, gave him a nod and walked towards the elevator.
Maybe things won’t change much. Maybe things would just get better now. Maybe she was the most luckiest girl in this world, for her best friend loved her.