Chapter 7

Written by: SameerNagarajan

She chose a light pink dress, offset by a rainbow-hued throw that fell carelessly over her shoulders. Stepping lightly, she reached The Chocolate Room at 8.50 pm.

Saumya, in an elegant dinner jacket and dark tie, met her at the entrance.  He smiled and held out a hand to her. As he escorted her to a table in a quiet corner, he murmured compliments. She smiled demurely, enjoying the attention and small talk.

They ordered the main course and she suddenly stiffened at a reference, "I honestly don’t know why Gaurav behaved as he did. Completely rude not to have told you anything at all."

She commented on how strange it felt that Gaurav was not there. She mentioned the note he had sent asking her to be there at 9, noting that it was 9.30 on her watch.

Saumya was looking straight at her. She noted the alarm and confusion on his face and continued as nonchalantly as she could, mentioning that it would have been great for the three of them to meet again ‘like old times’.

Saumya sounded shocked as he didn’t know Gaurav was in town. She revealed that even his parents had refused to say much and till that morning she had reluctantly come to believe that he had vanished from their lives.

Hesitantly, Saumya slowly said that Gaurav had called him a few days back. He sounded awkward, distant and breathless – as if it took great effort – then said he wasn’t interested in you, Mahak... that he wasn’t ready for a commitment … that he had a lifetime ahead of him, you weren’t the right one- wasn’t sure how to tell you.. and that he might move to a different place, maybe back to the US on a different project. Saumya had remonstrated with Gaurav, asking him to reconsider his position and reminding him of how invested they both were in the relationship. He didn’t listen and actually slammed the phone.

"So, Mahak," said Saumya, leaning forward confidently, "I really want to say this to you. I’ve loved you since the time we first met. I just didn’t know how to say it then because I was shy and I thought you were too good for me. You’re everything I want in a life partner. I’ve waited years for this and it’s entirely my fault. I wish I had done so earlier, but I’ll say it now… will you marry me?"

"This is so unexpected, Saumya, but there is something I really need to tell you," she hesitated, wondering if he was ready.

He placed a small, blue velvet box on the table. A solitaire sparkled inside, in a simple gold setting. Looking at her in the eye, he pushed it towards her gently, repeating the question "Will you marry me?’"

Sympathetically, she said, "This is so sudden, Saumya .. and so beautiful! just that … I spoke to Gaurav this afternoon and know a bit more than you’re saying”.

Comments

I thought this chapter captured the uncertainty of someone courting and also the way young people prepare for a special date. You further fleshed both characters out concisely and naturally. And the twist at the end had me gasping. That was totally unexpected. Very well done indeed!
Very nice chapter Sameer. Didn't expect this kind of ending, and truthfully, it is very interesting. When I wrote my chapter, I wasn't sure how far we could carry on this story of ill-fated lovers. But you have add a zing to it and I am thinking of so many possibilities this story could go. Enjoyed reading the chapter.