Chapter-1 : Foresēon – The Boy Next To Me!

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It was a pleasant Christmas Eve in world’s most happening city – New York. The Christmas season in New York is really something, the atmosphere is indescribable; you’ll be amazed by countless lights and magical decorations.

Khushi and Yash were there for their Christmas holidays, and were staying at Millennium Hilton; one of it’s kind in downtown Manhattan. Their suite had a magnificent view of Hudson River and a closer view to NYC’s Skyline. They were in New York for a week and had planned to spend their New-year at her best friend’s in Chicago. They were leaving for Chicago the next evening. Now that they were done sightseeing the city, they had all the time to get drunk tonight- that was the plan. But first, a romantic dinner followed by some strolling around Rockefeller. Khushi had lighted up like Christmas tree, as it was her first Christmas in US. Although she stays in San Jose from past 3 years, she leaves for India during holidays. After all there was only her father in her family. Who was adamant not to accompany her to US when she suddenly decided to study abroad.

Khushi was getting ready in her oxblood short sequin dress. She matched it with Jimmy Choo’s Anouk glitter black pumps and Mini charm clutch. No, she was no fashion maniac; she was a just product designer who dearly loves her worn out jeans & t-shirts; However, she also had a collection of evergreen fashion clothes and accessories; accumulated during her shopping spree with her girlfriend. Her sense of style was unmatchable. Tonight, she was all dolled up and it was understatement to say that she was looking stunning; She looked every bit of sexy yet elegant.

Meanwhile, Yash was making sure that the taxi was on time for their 8.30 dinner date at Bar SixtyFive at Rainbow Room. It was only about 20mins distance from their hotel but since it was a Christmas Eve, rush was expected on the road. It was already 7.30. He was ready in his blue jeans and black shirt with charcoal grey blazer. He looked dashing as always. He too was not much into the fashion and stuff but he managed well enough. He was more of moneyman – An investment banker. (Ahhm, yep!! Who else will be able to afford a suite in Downtown Manhattan during Christmas and that too for whole week? I mean, I understand the otherwise options but these 2 are independent individuals who are still very young.)

By the time they were ready and were waiting for the cab in hotel lobby, it was already quarter to 8. Somehow, Khushi felt Yash was preoccupied with something. He did not even appreciate her Diva look. Not that he hasn’t seen her all dressed up before, but it was unlikely of him not to compliment her. She thought it must be because he is very punctual all the time and they were expected to be late for the dinner due to the traffic. She tried to calm him down but it wasn’t much of help. Eventually, the cab came and they left for the dinner.

After reaching on time for the dinner, Khushi observed the restaurant’s ambience and she was perplexed. The two have been to a lot of fancy dates in past 2 years but this one was way too much. She was used to classy as her work took her to places but Bar SixtyFive was climbing up that list fast. She got nervous as the thought passed through her mind; all the rom-coms she has read and watched were indication to THE moment – The Proposal. Well…well…well, She shouldn’t be uncomfortable as that is the next step. They have been going out for almost 2 years now and it wasn’t just a fling- thing, they were serious to start from. Yash is a sorted guy; he knows what to do and what to say and more importantly, when to say. She realized that she was panicking just at the thought of it. She should have guessed it all the while but she was too busy with the Christmas thing. She wasn’t sure what to say if he proposes. All she knew was that she wasn’t ready for it and not sure if she’ll ever be. Yash asked whether she liked the place or not. Khushi startled and realized, she was thinking too much; Khushi complimented Yash on his selection of restaurant, she said she was already flattered. Yash did not look preoccupied anymore; it gave Khushi some relief, as he must not be planning a proposal as she thought earlier. They enjoyed their dinner with the beautiful view over Rockefeller. Bar SixtyFive was on 65th floor that’s why the name. It had stunning view of the city lights. While they were finishing up with Smoking Apple – the delicious desert, stuffed baked apple served with smoked caramel sauce and pecan crumble, Yash asked if she really liked the food or not, He even joked if she didn’t – they can always run to Times Square for some Cold Stone’s ice cream. Khushi tagged along and said that even though she thoroughly enjoyed the food, she can always have an ice cream or two and they laughed. Yash knew how to make Khushi laugh, that is how she fell for him in the first place. However, it was love at first sight for Yash. They had first met during a common friends party about 2 years ago and instantly heated off.

Khushi heaved a sigh of relief as the dinner was over and Yash didn’t pop the question. They were heading down for the Christmas tree. Khushi was fascinated with the Rockefeller Christmas tree from the time she saw it in a Home Alone movie, she had read it’s history and all the facts and schedules of what goes around throughout the year, she went through everything she could find on Internet. Khushi looked at her happiest as she was stating some fun-facts to Yash regarding the history and how they manage to get the tree there every year. Which by the way Yash already knew as she had told him earlier. Yash had that satisfying smile on his face as he watched Khushi so excited and happy kid. He knew, he was waiting for this moment since forever. While Khushi was still busy appreciating the beauty of Christmas tree, Yash came down on his knee and popped the question with stunning diamond ring in this hand. Khushi was jolted; it took her few seconds to actually look at him. Yash looked confident, unlike others he had no doubts about it. There was a bright smile on his face as if he already knew the answer and it was just a formality. Khushi went numb. She looked blankly at Yash who still was on his knee. Looking at Khushi, he got up and realized that everything he had hoped for, has came down with a crash. He wasn’t ready for this. He didn’t know how to react or what to say. The unspoken words of Khushi crushed him. He started going through all the details of that evening, thinking what could have gone wrong.

Khushi left without uttering word and for the first time, Yash didn’t bother to follow her. Khushi took a cab back to the hotel. As soon as she got down, she ran through the lobby holding back her tears but That was it. She burst into tears and crashed at the closed door of their suite. After awhile, still sobbing she got up and went inside. She thought of the big mess she has created… how she broke a heart, Yash’s heart. She knows people these days don’t have that much of love in them but Yash has. He loved her, he was the one who helped her… any girl would be happy to have him but she now knew, she wasn’t the one. She hated herself for dragging him into her mess. She punched on walls, trying to physically hurt herself thinking it might suppress her emotional pain. She was too broken to be in her senses so, she took out a bottle of dry wine from the fridge and sat by the window. Wine was never her best companion; she couldn’t handle more than 2 glasses, but maybe tonight she did not want to be handled well, she wanted to be lost, lost in the dark and not in these haunting thoughts. Sipping down that bitter wine, she was looking out for something, something she had lost – herself. She was going back to the details of that New Year’s dawn 3 years back when she first felt lost. It was too quite for her, she was not only alone but lonely. She knew, she’ll have to talk to Yash soon but not now. She was not ready as yet, she did not have the heart to say loud and clear ‘No’. Even though it was understood; it was very important for her to explain him why. She knew it will break him down.

Suddenly, she felt the urge of throwing up, not only the wine but also these thoughts triggered by her past memories. She was drunk, almost done with that bottle of wine. However, she managed herself to bathroom. She was feeling sick; she puked, a lot. She finally came to her senses when she was done vomiting. She was disgusted at her own sight in the mirror. That can’t be her, She was looking at someone who was self centered. Someone, who ruined Yash’s trust… she started crying again… blabbering and accusing herself for what she has done…

(Bursting out loudly)

Khushi:I know. I know…I’m not suppose to miss you, I’m not suppose to wonder how you doing? Or you ever miss me? I know, I’m not supposed to feel this way… I’m not supposed to love you. Yeah, I’m not supposed to love you Sahil… because you chose not to! I’m supposed to love this guy, who’s crazy about me, and will go to any extend to make me smile. The guy who made me forgot you existed, at least for a while. You know, I’m supposed to be with Yash and have a happy life like… but how I wish… how I wish… YOU to be the guy next to me… like always!

It took her sometime to stop crying. She washed her face and changed into a bath rob. She was exhausted when she finally came out of the bathroom; all drained out, too tried to care about anything… She went to bed straight ahead and slept off.

Meanwhile, Yash roamed around on the streets for sometime. Thinking about the possibilities of what could have been, if she had said Yes. He could not find himself a reason why she rejected him. He knew one thing for sure that she wasn’t afraid of marriage and she actually believed in the constitution. He was feeling cold, inside out. He was back in the hotel room when Khushi was still in bathroom, crying to herself. He made himself a peg of whisky and sat by the window in sitting area. He heard every word she threw out of herself, not knowing he was already in. He didn’t try to stop her from crying. Maybe because He was too broken to mend her or wanted her to feel the same pain he was going through. Or maybe, he just wanted to give her the time to decide for herself, what she wants from her life! Instead of making her guilty for what had happened tonight, He wanted to give her the comfort of being alone. He really wanted to give her the space she needed. It did break him into pieces when he heard Sahil’s name. He was all the more dejected by the fact that she was still in love with Sahil. He thought she had managed to move on. The thoughts were killing him too but he did not have the liberty to cry out loudly since Khushi was back in the bedroom, fast asleep. He could hear her sleep and even after all that happened tonight, He still loves her!

 

PS: Please excuse my grammar!

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