“Halen Coben. No. Orhan Pamuk. No. Jeffrey Archer. No. Stephen King. No way. Gillian Flynn. Hmmm…. Hey! Does Gillian Flynn write romance?” he asked, after going through the first rack of her book-shelf.
“Nope. She writes about psychotic wives who stage their own deaths and frame their husbands.” She answered, without looking away from her laptop.
“Haw! Thanks for ruining the book for me.”
He directed his attention back to her shelf. After carefully going through the titles and names of the authors of all the books on her shelf, he called out to her again, “Why aren’t there any romance novels on your shelf?”
“I don’t like them.” She finally looked at him.
“But you’re a girl!”
“Yes. I have breasts. I bleed once every month and go through painful cramps. What’s your point?”
“Oh..kaay. See, what I meant was that girls like romance, right? Isn’t it their favourite genre?” he paused, “She likes it.”
“That’s her choice. Look, I can help you out with books of other genre. Thriller, horror, humour, sci-fi – you name it. But, I am sorry, I can’t help you find a good romance novel to gift your girlfriend on her birthday. I am just not well-equipped for that.”
“But you’re my best friend. I can’t turn to anyone else for this. Tomorrow is her birthday and I just need a romance novel to complete the gift basket I am preparing for her.”
“Gift basket? What are you? A Desperate Housewife?” she laughed.
“Not funny.” He sat on her bed, dejected.
She stopped laughing. She felt sorry for him. She knew how much finding a romance novel meant to him at that moment. She typed something on her laptop and called out to him, “Hey! I found a list of best-selling romance novelists on the internet. Come, check it out.”
His expression softened and he jumped from her bed to the chair next to the beanbag she was sitting on, to look at her laptop. He scanned through the list. His eyes brightened at the sight of a name.
“Nicholas Sparks!” he exclaimed, “I think I’ve heard of him before. What books has he written?”
“Umm… ‘A Walk To Remember’, ‘The Lucky One’, ‘The Notebook.’”
“The Notebook! Yes! She had told me she loves that book. I think she likes this author. Check if he has released any books recently.”
She googled ‘Nicholoas Sparks’. “Oh! You’re in luck! His latest book released just 3 days ago. Its unlikely she has bought it yet. So, go, rush to the market now!”
She saw the brightest smile she had ever seen, appear on his face. She couldn’t help but smile herself.
“Perfect!” he screamed. “Do you want me to get you a romance novel too? To add to your humongous collection?”
“No. I am good. I am not interested in reading Mr. I’ll-force-you-to-cry-your-eyes-out-with-my-exaggerated-emotions Sparks at all.”
“Tell me this, if you don’t read romance novels, how do you know so much about Nicholas Sparks’ novels?”
“I didn’t say I don’t read them. Well, I actually don’t read them now, but I have read a few of them earlier. And I didn’t like them. I just can’t buy their structure.”
“Yes. The same old story. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, fight so-called adversities and then they live happily ever after. Or one of them dies, but their love lasts eternally; something like that. It’s just their story; their love. A love story isn’t always that simple.”
She shifted her attention back to her laptop.
“Wow! When did you start talking like that?” he exclaimed.
“And you thought you knew me?”
He gazed at her. As she did not look at him, he moved towards her, knelt beside her chair and held her hand. “Listen, if it’s about that senior in college you have a crush on, trust me, he can never find a better girl than you. He’ll see how awesome you are pretty soon. Look at me! I never believed in love. But now I am dating one of the most amazing girls in the world and all we did was realize how perfect we are for each other. Even though you believe otherwise, love stories aren’t that complicated.”
She looked at her best friend and smiled. “Ya. Okay. Enough mushy dialogues for a day! Now go get that book for your girlfriend and complete your gay gift basket!”
He playfully hit her head and rushed out. She turned her attention back to her laptop.
“He gone nw?” her best friend pinged her on Facebook.
“Yup.” She replied.
“Found him a gud romance novel 4 his gf?”
“Mst hv been hard 4 u.”
“I am used to it by now.” she typed back, “Hey! Did you watch the new Anurag Kashyap movie?”