This short story became SPIXer (Most popular story) on 04 May 2013 and won INR 500 (US$ 10)
I may not be the most decent boy, but I’m confident and bold enough to ask you the following… Wanna have fun sometime?
He re-read the message that he sent to Arpita. The delivery report confirmed that she had received it. He regretted hitting the send button but couldn’t take the words back. It was too late now. What if she laughed at it? What if she thought he was being ridiculous? What if she considered it vulgar? Rishi wondered if he could pretend he was drunk when he sent the message. But no, it was just 7pm.
Arpita was a quick texter and Rishi, too, wasn’t a guy with patience but still, she hadn’t replied yet. He kept picking his mobile up, reading his words, browsing the menu and then keeping it down.
Feeling a sudden ache in his stomach, he went to the toilet and decided to tell her that he was just kidding and there’s nothing serious. However, when he returned back, his mobile beeped.
1 New Message Received: Arpita
Why did she have to reply? He was about to clarify that it was just a joke.
He knew her since they were stuck on the same project. Then, Rishi had quickly realised that she was not his kind of girl but he could be himself with her.
His hands shook as he picked up his mobile. Hesitating, Rishi frowned. Her reply shouldn’t matter to him – he had never cared when asked other girls the same thing. But still, there was something different about her – she was more real to him than anyone else.
Finally, he opened the message and his eyes stoned on the screen.
What kind of fun? Please specify ;)
Rishi’s heart bounced to his neck. Not once had it ever crossed his mind that Arpita would reply so. She understood what fun he was talking about. She had known her to be someone who believed in enjoying such treats that life offered.
Fooling around with girls was easy for him. He flirted, he dated, he got dot down dirty and then told after a while, I think it’s not working anymore. Rishi wasn’t into commitment and tended to escape like sliding butter.
He approached life to be a fun.
Fun that comes with the tag of no-strings-attached, he quickly replied.
He wasn’t sure what he wanted but he knew he could never have any strings.
He gazed outside. The flickering stars seemed disco lights to him.
Yeah, Strings are easily tangled, his mobile beeped again.
Rishi didn’t know what to reply back, so he simply typed, So?
He looked at his picture on the wall that said – Mr. Fresher ’11. Smiling with pride of his win, he waited for her reply that didn’t come. Arpita was playing with his head but Rishi didn’t mind. For the first time, he was enjoying his mind being screwed by a girl.
He fell on the bed and closed his eyes. Why did he sent the message? What attracted him to her? Arpita wasn’t a game for him; she was just something… he didn’t know. He smelt her presence around.
He texted his best friend, Aman.
Arpita and I…are on! ;)
Rishi knew Aman would drop his jaw on reading the text. Aman had been his closest buddy since forever; they were brothers-from-different-mothers.
Rishi’s phone buzzed again but for a call, and not a text.
He smiled as he picked it up. “Quite a shock, huh?”
“You doggy, I can’t believe you did it!” came Aman’s voice with a giggle. “This is so exciting dude. How did you propose to her?” he asked excited.
“Well, I didn’t propose but offered,” Rishi smiled wickedly.
“What?” Aman sounded disappointed. “Don’t tell me she is the next in your list. She is too cute to be your toy. Don’t play with her dude,” he warned.
“I’m not playing,” Rishi laughed.
“Then? What is it?”
“She knows me. We are just gonna enjoy it and there is nothing wrong with that. Everyone does that,” he laughed again.
“Expect the ones like you – One Girl Boyfriend”
Aman sighed. “It’s all great and cool but with Arpita? I doubt that. She is so endearing and adorable. You are being nasty. Listen …”
His cell phone buzzed in between, “Oh, hang on Aman.” Rishi quickly put him on speaker, “Can you hear me?”
“Yeah, what is it?”
“A text, from your Miss Endearing and Adorable,” Rishi chuckled.
“And what does it say?”
OK. I am in. I can never turn down Mr. Rishi <3
Rishi read the text as his chest ballooned with smugness. “Dude, I’m gonna fool around Arpita Sen! Party!”
Aman laughed and then quietly asked, “Wouldn’t you want something more?”
“I don’t think so. I am bad at handling something more,” Rishi said, confused.
There was a long pause from both the sides as Rishi replied Arpita with a <3
“Rishi, you need to understand that you lack a gravity in life – Arpita will bring the gravity,” Aman broke the long pause.
“Don’t start your lecture again,” said Rishi, annoyed. “I don’t want this something more.”
They had this same conversation over a thousand of times and it was old news by now. Aman had almost given up and didn’t hold a grudge. He laughed, “I wonder if something crazy can happen.”
“I’ve flirt with three girls at the same time keeping them on hold. Every CCD worker, around the city, knows me for being with girls all the time. I get my mobile recharged and bike fuelled with girl’s money. And then, I have played the prank of being a blackmailer too. What else can I do?” Rishi laughed.
“Get her to fall in love with you,” Aman murmured.
Rishi smiled slightly, “Hmmm.. Well, that would be a fun challenge but…”
“But I couldn’t hurt her like that. I don’t want to,” Rishi shrugged, even though Aman couldn’t see him. “Think something else”
Aman was silent for a moment and then spoke, “I have to go bro. It’s time to call Reena”.
“Reena! Reena is a lucky girl to have you,” Rishi sighed. “Call her to say Rishi loves her too”
“You’re a swine!”
“Aman darling, don’t get jealous. I love you too baby. Bye!” Rishi chuckled.
“Bye doggy,” Aman said, smiling. They both adored each other more than anyone else.
Rishi groaned as his phone vibrated besides him. He rubbed his eyes and cussed the blooming sun. He rolled over, threw his arm out and looked at the screen with a curse.
It was Arpita’s call.
“Meet me at eleven at CCD, Ratu Road. You know that place?,” said Arpita, without a good-morning-greeting.
“Yeah, I know. But what time is it?,” Rishi asked half-asleep.
“Its ten duffer! And it’s morning,” laughed Arpita.
“Am I late?” Rishi rubbed his eyes.
“Not yet but you might be. And if you are late, be ready to bear the consequences. Now bye!” Arpita replied.
“I am coming, I am coming,” Rishi repeated as he heard the line cut.
Grudgingly, he tossed his legs over the side and sat up. Time to rush hero, he thought.
He counted ten deep breaths and then he ran to his bathroom. He threw his clothes off his body as hurriedly he could. He put the toothbrush in his mouth and danced under the shower. The bath refreshed his senses. As he came out of the bathroom, he bathed with his favourite deodorant. Girls love guys who smell fresh, he knew. He put on his best dress and was ready to vroom for Arpita.
He found Arpita, sitting on a table, as he entered the CCD. She was in a red top and black jeans. Her long hair was tied in a loose knot that fell all the way to her waist. He sat and gave her the rose bouquet that he had brought on the way. Her skin was vibrant and her eyes reflected purity. He could smell her lavender perfume. She turned and smiled her eyes caught Rishi’s. It was a smile igniting a thousand questions that he feared to answer.
“Hey,” he said.
“You came”. Her eyes beamed like a flower of the spring.
“Of course I did,” he responded with a smile.
“What keeps you sleep so long?”
“I stay awake late nights.”
“And what you do all night?” she chuckled.
“I think of the darkness and emptiness this universe is filled of, same as mine,” Rishi lied. He spent the whole browsing her pics.
“Don’t try to sound intellectual, I know you are not,” Arpita winked as they both laughed.
They had a friendly conversation about their chats, their past project and their taste and then Rishi asked what she dreamt last night, “Did you’d any nightmare last night?”
“Hmmmm.. I didn’t have any nightmare last night. In fact I had a very beautiful dream that a handsome boy asked me to his latest toy.”
He didn’t speak, afraid she was about to slap him.
“I haven’t decided if I want to accept or not but I really like this guy, you know,” Arpita spoke so easily. “I would rather love to be his girlfriend,” she smiled indifferently.
Rishi scowled, “Maybe this guy doesn’t want a relationship.”
“Why wouldn’t he?”
Rishi took a deep breath. “Maybe his first girlfriend was a cheat. Maybe he was rejected by the second. Or maybe he has seen every friend of him cry in relationships. Maybe he see his parents divorced and happy with their different partners,” his voice went low. “Maybe he thinks he can’t be serious in anything…because it scares him.”
Arpita was nodding while he spoke. She stared at his hand, his fingers and his skin. He knew what she was asking for. It was too much though. He didn’t think he could take the leap.
“Hey, I didn’t so much about your past,” she rolled her eyes.
“There was a girl, Pooja. I loved her but she cheated. It was very hard to recover,” Rishi looked away while saying.
“Now I see the seeds. Then?”
“Then there was Farah, a muslim. I had a crush on her. I confronted to her but she refused. She hated my attitude,” Rishi hung his head.
Arpita caressed his cheeks, “It happens Rishi, it happens to everyone.”
“Besides, I see friends crying all the time. Relationships are hurting,” he said as he filled the gaps between her fingers. Their eyes met, “Fun, Arpita. I just want fun only”
“Alright,” she smiled. “If you can’t be serious, we’ll do it your way. But I just want to kiss you anytime I feel like.”
Rishi’s lips curved a smile too. He held both her hands, “I’ll break your heart”
“I’ll steal yours,” she kissed his hands.