After changing his clothes, Manik was waiting for her, sitting on the edge of the bed. As he heard the sound of the opening of the bathroom’s door, he stood up and ran toward the door. As she opened the door, she found him standing in front of her eyes. He gave her a small smile and she stared at him blankly.
“Come,” he led her to the bed and asked her to sit down. She sat down on the bed comfortably resting her back against the pillow. He gave her tablets and water. She took them silently. Manik’s heart was aching badly, seeing her condition.
He sat beside her with the ointment. He took out ointment on the tip of his finger and came close to her face to apply it. He gently applied it on her wounds, feeling pain in his heart. She kept staring straight and didn’t feel any pain. He looked at her pale face and few tears rolled down his cheeks mechanically. He wiped his tears and kissed her forehead promising to her that he would bring her smile back. She closed her eyes in response and felt little relief after feeling the touch of his lips on her skin.
Manik was helping her in lying down on the bed, he stopped as she uttered suddenly by holding his hand. “Manik, they will come back. I am scared.” She stammered, shivering again because of the fear.
“Relax, Nandini, they won’t come. I am with you. You just sleep.” He assured her and tried to calm her down by stroking her forehead and squeezing her hand. She was looking at him, having fear in her eyes.
Then he lay down beside her and embraced her fragile body in his protective arms because he knew she needed this a lot at this moment to fall asleep. She snuggled in his arms and burying herself into him more and more. He was caressing her back and kissing her head. She was feeling better after coming into his arms. She felt safe and secure. She fell asleep in his protective arms within a few minutes because of the effect of the medicine. Manik kept awake whole night wondering how to make his star shine again.
As Nandini opened her eyes, she widened her eyes in shock to see those three men standing at the window. They were looking at her having lust in their eyes. She started shivering and rushed to the door screaming for help and Manik, but the door was closed. She started banging the door, crying miserably. She heard them laughing evilly.
She woke up, breathing heavily and sweating badly from the nightmare. She was shivering with the fear. She scanned the whole room but nobody was there. She got hell scared because of the nightmare.
Manik stepped out of the bathroom after getting fresh but his eyes shot up as he saw the empty bed. He went in the balcony, calling her, but came back, disheartened because she was not there. He got hell worried for her. He was about to walk out of the room but something caught his attention. Few clothes were scattered outside of his cupboard on the floor. He became confused at first and then he understood that she was in his cupboard. He dashed to the cupboard and holding the handles, he opened the cupboard. And expected he found her sitting in his cupboard hugging her knees near to her heart. She was shivering and sweating badly because of the fear.
“Nandini,” as he called her, putting his hand on her shoulder, she opened her eyes instantly and jumped into his arms by wrapping her hands around his neck and legs around his waist. Manik hugged her back tightly.
“Manik, they will take me. Please save me, I am scared. They will take me. They will hurt me again. I’m scared.” She started crying in his arms while he was constantly caressing her back and head.
“Nandini, I am with you and they are suffering in jail. They won’t come. I will never let them reach to you. Trust me, Nandini, I won’t let anything happen to you.” He whispered in her ear and she was just crying hugging him tightly. He took her to the bed, holding her in the same position.
“Manik, please don’t leave me. Save me from them, I am scared.” She spoke, crying as Manik broke the hug after making her sit down on the bed.
“I am not going anywhere, Nandini. I am with you… always.” He reassured her, clasping her face and gazing deeply into her eyes. He kissed her forehead and his thumbs wiped her tears from her cheeks.
“Manik, trust me. I have seen them. They were standing there.” She pointed at the window.
“They came to take me. They will take me, Manik.” She cried, holding his t-shirt. Manik now understood that she was mixing the nightmare with reality.
“Nandini, you must have seen a bad dream. They can’t come, they are in jail. I won’t let them reach to you, trust me please.” He begged her to trust him. He was going crazy seeing her condition. Her condition was worsening instead of getting better. He was feeling like he was losing her.
“They broke my soul. They made me dirty. I can’t handle it again. I am scared, Manik. You won’t let them come to me, right?” She asked, looking at him, her eyes were filled with hope.
“Never.” He kissed her forehead after replying to her.
He sat with her after taking her in his arms. He was sitting behind her and she was sitting in between his legs, resting her head on his chest. His one hand was entwined with her and another hand was wrapped around her chest.
“Manik, I want to tell you something.” She uttered, breaking the silence. He just hummed, his hand was stroking her face from behind.
“I never loved Shivansh and now I can never love him because I love you, Manik.” Her sudden confession was unexpected for him but he was relieved because at least she was thinking about something else instead of last night incident. He didn’t interrupt her and let her continue.
“Manik, I care for Shivansh, I just love him as a friend. From one year, I’ve been asking him to give time and he is giving me complete space and waiting for me to confess love. But I can’t lie to him anymore. I can’t pretend anymore that I am happy with him. I know, the truth will hurt him and it will hurt me too, but I can’t give him false hope. He is really a good person. His heart is pure and he deserves a girl who will love him like the way he loves me. Manik, I am sorry but I can’t continue my marriage with Shivansh anymore. Don’t worry, I won’t take your name. I won’t ruin both of your friendship. I will go away from both of your life. I know, you will handle him.” At that time whatever was going in her mind, she was telling to him.
Manik was relieved to know that he didn’t spoil their married life. He was happy to know that Nandini had never loved Shivansh. Before he was thinking that he came in between them and ruined their love life. But listening to Nandini’s word, he understood that it was always one-sided love. Only Shivansh loved her, she never loved him back. She was with him because she didn’t want to break his heart. Now he made his mind that he would confess his love to her but he wanted to make it special. He would not push her away from himself anymore.
But he was confused that if she didn’t love him then why she married to Shivansh so he asked her” But why did you marry Shivansh ?”
“Because my mom was constantly forcing for this marriage. I had no reason to say no to him. I thought that one day I would fall in love with him. But that day never came. With the passing time, I started caring for him. I thought I am falling for him but somewhere I knew that it was not love. When You hugged me, that day I came to know what I was missing in my life. In your arms, there is so much peace, Manik. The peace which I had been finding in Shivansh’s arms, that peace I got in your arms. I scolded myself for this but with time, I understood that I love you. You were the missing piece of my life. What I feel for you, I have never felt for anybody till now.” She turned her face and spoke, looking at him. Both were gazing in each other eyes deeply. Their eyes were filled with love.
“Do you hate me, Manik ?” She suddenly asked and her voice was filled with pain.
“Why ?” He asked instantly.
“Because I am going to break the heart of your best friend.”
“No, because this is good for him. He has to move on from you. His love is one-sided which won’t give anything. You are right, he deserves the girl who will love him.” Nandini sighed with relief after closing her eyes. She was happy to get the support of the person whom she loved.
“Nandini, tonight I will tell you how much I love you. Tonight will make you forget all your pain, I will make it so beautiful and special.” Manik thought and kissed her forehead. She gave him a faint smile after opening her eyes.
“And I have to move on from you because my love is also one-sided.” She thought, resting her head over his chest and few tears streamed down her cheeks.
She fell asleep and he was wondering what he should do to make her night special. He wanted to fill her life with happiness and love. He didn’t want to see her in more pain and he couldn’t stop himself from confession his love anymore.
His phone rang up which was kept on the side. He closed his eyes in agony after seeing the name which was flashing on the screen. It was Shivansh’s call. He picked it up after making himself strong.
“Manik, Nandini is not picking up my calls since last night. I am worried about her.”
“Shivansh, relax. Last night, Nandini was completely drunk. She is fine and sleeping now. I am with her.” Manik answered him, gazing at Nandini who was sleeping in his arms and she was not at all fine.
“Now I am relieved after knowing that she is with you. I know, you will take proper care of her.”Manik felt guilty seeing how much he trusted him and he was going to break his trust. But now nothing could change his decision.
“Tell Nandini, I will be back within a week. By the way, how are you, Manik ?”
“Better.,” he answered after a few seconds of silence.
“How do I tell you Shivansh that I am completely shattered after seeing Nandini in the worst condition. It is killing me from inside.” Manik though, looking at Nandini with his eyes filled with pain. He wanted to share his pain with him but he couldn’t. He had nobody with whom he could share his pain.
“I can see how much better you are. You are sounding so low to me at this moment. Manik, stop doing this with yourself. If you can’t move on then give a chance to your love. I can’t see you like this. It’s hurt to see you suffering every day, your condition is getting worse.” Manik closed his eyes dejectedly after listening to his words.
“Shivansh, when you come back, we will talk about this. I have decided something. I am also thinking to get her in my life. But I need your support. You know she is married. It won’t be easy. Her husband loves her so much. I am feeling like I am snatching her from him. But I can’t stop loving her, I can’t stop thinking about her. Even she loves me too. This is not wrong, right? Am I doing right? Will I able to live happily by breaking a marriage?” Whatever was going in his mind, he was telling him. He wanted to know his answer.
“Manik, love can never be wrong if it’s true. I am with you, Manik. And I am happy that finally, you are giving chance to your love. I will pray for you both and I wanna meet that lucky girl. She is blessed to have you, Manik. I will pray for you both. All the best.” Manik smiled a bit after listening to his words. But he was afraid to even think that what would be his reaction after knowing about that lucky girl.
“Come soon, Shivansh. I need you.”
“Manik, I am always there for you. Take care. Call me when Nandini wake up.”
“You take care, Shivansh. Bye..” They hang up the call.
“Shivansh, I will tell you everything as soon as you come back. I’m ready to accept whatever your decision will be. But I just can’t give more pain to Nandini. She has already suffered enough because of all this. She loves me and I was pushing her to love you. That’s so wrong. I can’t love anybody after Nandini and I was thinking she would love you if she started hating me. But I was so wrong. If I can’t stop loving her then how can I expect from her to stop loving me. She needs me now and forever. I love her, I have to think about her too. I don’t want to lose your friendship. But, I am sorry Shivansh, now I am choosing love over our friendship because I can’t see her in more pain. I will not able to live after giving her pain. I will tell her today how much I love her. Maybe my confession will able to help her in coming out of this trauma. I just want to bring happiness in her life. I just want to see her beautiful smile. I want her to shine again like she used to shine like a star when I met her for the first time.” Manik was wondering, gazing at the sleeping Nandini.
“I will make you shine again my star by filling your life with the lots of happiness. I will give you the love which you deserve.” He whispered and kissed Nandini knuckle after bringing her hand near to his lips.