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Knock knock knock.

he heard it faintly. His subconscious was the one in complete control. He was totally unaware of anything around him. It was like he was floating, but he really wasn’t. he was just tired and wanted to sleep.

Knock knock knock.

He heard it louder this time, but still not loud enough for him to wake up. He was still asleep, but he frowned his face. In the dream he was having, it was like he was in a mansion, his own mansion. He was painting a magnificent piece, and he was listening to Raveena  through speakers that were placed throughout the house. Hidden, but still giving maximum sound quality. Even at the volume he was playing the music. There was a bottle of wine on the table beside him. There was a half full goblet there too, containing wine fit for Dionysius. He was about to put his brush to the canvas to add a little detail of blue to the landscape clouds he was painting when he heard it again. He lost his concentration and his hand shook. Ending up with a much stronger and  longer stroke than intended. He got annoyed and turned towards the door, and there was the sound again.

Knock knock knock.

His eyes opened and his brows furrowed.

The memory of the dream was gone almost immediately, but he was still just as annoyed as he was in the dream. He stood up and went to open the door. Prepared to yell at whoever it was that was banging on his door on a Sunday morning. When he opened it however, he was too stunned to even talk.

Seeing her there, his anger disappeared. Suddenly he became conscious of the drool on his cheek. The chain he wore wasn’t a choker, but he felt choked. He wished he had on something better than the loose briefs he was wearing, but he didn’t.

The both of them stood there for a few seconds before the girl spoke first.

It had been a simple “Hi” followed by a weak smile. Forced and lacklustre.

“can you give me a minute??” he dashed back into the room to clean himself up in the bathroom and maybe wear something better. He left the door open for though. He didn’t want it to seem like he didn’t want to see her there. He was done in a few minutes. He now had on shorts and a shirt he didn’t button  up. His face was still dripping with water that he hadn’t bothered to towel off. He went back to meet her. She was still at the door, playing with her fingers.

Her refusal to enter without a proper invitation was funny. She had been here before, several times. She had cooked here, she had spent weekends here, watched tv, read and even had her own friends over. They had made love here. The finger twisting thing was new. It made her look nervous and delicate. Not the cute kind of delicate. The kind where a kid knew he had done something wrong and confessed. Waiting for punishment.

“Don’t you want to come inside??”

No reply. But she came in anyway. She spent the first few seconds looking around, trying to pick up on things that had changed in the last eight months. Nothing had. Except that he had finally gotten around to fixing the holes on the wall. And his pile of dirty clothes stood higher. He was supposed to clear that today.

“So what’s up?? How are you??” There was a reason why she was here. He wanted to know it.

“Umm….I’m fine. How have you been??”

He just shrugged. The back and forth was very uncomfortable for him. He had to act like he was indifferent when he had missed her voice and had thought about little more than how to get her back in his life over the past few months.

“So….ummm…. me and Khalid Sultan broke up.”

It took everything he had not to react to the news. But he kept his composure. He did a count of five to one before he replied.

“When??”

“Yesterday night”

And she was here already?? “Why??”

“The relationship wasn’t working again. And I umm….I called your name when we were having sex.”

That sentence felt like it was rushed. Like she had forced it out with all the energy she could muster. It hadn’t been easy for her to come back here to admit what had led to the end of her last relationship. It hadn’t been easy to even make herself come here. She wasn’t exactly sure of what she was doing, or what was going to be the outcome.

For him however, the sentence was on relay in his head. In slow motion. The scene replayed itself in his head. He had been waiting for this for months, and now it happened, and it was real, and he didn’t know what to do. He just stood there. Looking at the girl that had broken his heart. He had broken her heart too, but he never stopped loving her. She had told him she stopped loving him, that she never did really, and that he should move on with his life. That had hurt. But in the middle of the pain, he still loved her.

And she was here now. Looking at him, waiting for him to say something. Or do something. Get angry, say something hurtful, laugh at her, tell her that he had gotten someone new. Anything. She wanted, no. She needed a reaction from him. His calm was driving her crazy. Should she leave?? Should she go and hug him?? Should she tell him that he never left her mind and she had been miserable for the past few months?? Should she say something about how she missed their sex and their intimacy??

She wasn’t expecting him to be calm like this. But his thoughts were just as haywire as hers.

“Say something….please”

Pause.

“What do you want me to say??”

Heartbreak. Pause. A tear down her face. Her vision getting blurry, but both of them still maintaining eye contact.

“Hey. Don’t cry.”

For some reason, she laughed at that. She found it funny that he was telling her not to cry. In her opinion, all this was his fault. But he had apologized and made amends and hadn’t accepted them. She had gone berserk and overreacted and did a lot of stupid things that she really wished she hadn’t done, so it was on her to apologise now. She raised her glasses and cleaned her eyes with the back of her hand, and then put them back on.

He was standing in front of her now. The height difference between them more pronounced, making her having to crane her neck so she could look at his face. She saw his beards had become more than a few strands that it was a few months ago. His hair was full too, but it was always full. He never liked going to the barber.

“So what do we do now??”

She didn’t have an answer to that. She just stood there looking at him. Staring at each other.

“I don’t know….I honestly don’t.”

“Should we….try this again?? Are you up for that??”

“Yes but, do you want it?? I don’t want you to take me back because you think that I-“

Her words were cut off when he pulled her to himself and hugged her tight like it would make up for the time they had spent apart pining for each other. It wouldn’t. Those nine months they had spent apart would go on to become a permanent scar on the face of their relationship, but they made it work. They made it work.

So the tears falling down her face as she hugged him back were worth it. They became silent promises to herself and to them that things between them would never get this bad again.

Of course it did, but they made it through. And they made it work.

They made it work.

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