To read first part, click here.
To read second part, click here.
To read third part, click here.
Even though two days had passed since Simmi’s unexpected meeting with the tennis ball, she still got blinding headaches. She had already been to her family doctor for the check-up, who had advised her bed rest for couple of days. And she had followed the doctor’s advice to the hilt; of course, it’s another matter that she didn’t have any other choice with constant headaches. Today was her first day in the college after that incident and she was enjoying it with relish. Who wanted to be stuck in a bed on such a wonderful day? With monsoon approaching sooner than later, the atmosphere was quite cool and cloudy. It looked as if it was going to rain anytime.
Simmi and Kajal were quite happy enjoying the weather by sitting outside the canteen with a plate of hot piping samosas and tea.
“So now tell me in detail how did you get hurt?”
“Oh God, Kajal, how many times do I have to tell you how it happened? I have already told you three times.” Simmi was thoroughly exasperated with Kajal. She simply didn’t know why Kajal was not letting go of the matter.
“Simmi, I know you are hiding something from me and so I have decided to pester you until you tell me the whole thing.”
Hearing Kajal’s words, Simmi felt little bit guilty. She hadn’t told Kajal anything about how Arpit had helped her. She wasn’t sure how Kajal would react to the news, given her prejudice toward him. It wasn’t as if she liked Arpit; in fact, she found Arpit a bit raw and callous. But as he had helped her the other day, she was unwilling to expose him to Kajal’s harsher comments.
So instead of replying to Kajal, Simmi took a huge bite out of the samosa and nearly died choking it when she looked up to find Arpit standing in front of them. Hearing her gasping like a fish, Kajal looked up from her plate to whack her back and give her some water. As Kajal still hadn’t noticed Arpit, Simmi tried to plead Arpit with her soulful eyes to just go away. And Arpit, being Arpit, just ignored Simmi’s plea and sat on the ground with them.
“So Simmi, how are you? Are you still having headaches?”
Hearing Arpit’s voice, Kajal swung around. “What are you doing here? Why are you harassing my friend again?”
Leisurely picking up a samosa from Simmi’s plate, Arpit asked Kajal with condescending tone, “Are you Simmi? Or are you the appointed spokeswoman for Simmi?” Arpit didn’t even wait for Kajal’s reply before he turned his back to her and took a bite of the hot samosa. Seeing Arpit’s such rude behavior, Kajal got infuriated. “Who the hell do you think you are? Always being at places where you aren’t wanted.”
“And who told you I am not wanted? Did you ask Simmi that question before you started straining your little mind over it?”
“You…I don’t need to ask Simmi about it because I know it. She doesn’t want anything to do with you. Leave her alone, you scumbag.”
When Kajal started calling him names, Arpit’s muscles got bunched and his eyes went as cold as Antarctic. Seeing Arpit transform from an easy-going guy into a hostile man, Simmi got little bit scared. Although she wanted to intervene before the matter went out of hand, she was terrified to step in. However, the decision was taken out of her hands when both Arpit and Kajal turned to look at her with matching glowers.
“W-what have I done?”
“Why don’t you tell your friend to butt out?” Arpit snapped at her.
“Yes, why don’t you tell this scumbag to slither away?”
Seeing Arpit going ablaze before her very own eyes, Simmi had no other option but to avert World War III. “Kajal, can you please calm down? Arpit was just moving on, weren’t you Arpit?”
“No, I wasn’t.” Saying this, Arpit sat down again and took another samosa from the plate. Seeing Arpit’s nonchalance, Kajal literally seemed to be on the verge of exploding.
“Please Kajal, can you go to the canteen? I will join you there in few minutes.”
Even though Kajal wanted to refuse her, she went in reluctantly when she saw that they had started attracting attention of other students. She was in no mood to create a scene and so just gave a glare to Arpit before stomping off.
Taking a deep breath of relief, Simmi asked Arpit, “Okay. What do you want?”
“What do you mean what do I want?”
“Well, it means exactly what I asked. Don’t play games with me.”
“Oh, so you do have a spine. Well, for your clarification, I wasn’t playing any games. I just wanted to know how you were faring after that accident. Now it seems that my concern was misplaced.”
Now Simmi felt doubly guilty: guilty for insulting Arpit when he was clearly concerned about her wellbeing and guilty for hurting Kajal’s feelings. She was sure she was going to have tough time when she finally gathered enough courage to tell her the entire incident.
“I am good. And thank you for helping me the other day. I don’t know what I would have done had you been not there.”
“It’s no big deal. I would have done the same for the street dog. Nothing special, sweetheart.” Saying this, Arpit strolled away toward the campus garden.
At the peak of anger, Simmi went to the canteen to look for Kajal. Now she was never ever going to try to protect Arpit from Kajal’s sharp tongue. Street dog indeed!
As soon as Kajal saw Simmi approaching, she rushed to her and started dragging her outside. “Wait, I want to buy a bottle of mineral water.”
“No, you don't. I want to know what’s going on between you and Arpit.”
“Oh God, nothing is going on. Believe me.”
“Tell me the whole story and let me be the judge about it.”
Giving in to Kajal persistence, Simmi let her drag her out. “Ok. Spill the beans now. I have had enough of this mystery.”
As Simmi was in no mood to be charitable, she told Kajal the whole story along with how Arpit compared her to a street dog. Hearing about the latest comparison, Kajal was suitable outraged. “Why that sleaze ball…”
Even though Simmi was angry on Arpit, she couldn’t take much of Kajal’s name callings. “Oh please stop it. It’s over and done now.”
“Simmi, you think it’s over. Believe me, it’s not. Guys like him get a kick out of harassing innocent girls like you. The more they humiliate you, the more powerful they feel. Otherwise why do you think he makes it a point to go out of his way to insult you? Why do you think he compared you to a street dog after helping you the other day? It’s quite simple. Arpit is a psychopath who thrives on other’s humiliation, who gets sadistic pleasure from treading on weak and helpless people like you.”
“No, now that’s extreme, don’t you think?”
“No, I don’t think so. Believe me you should stay away from him. Better don’t accept any kind of help from him or he will walk all over you.”
Although Simmi didn’t agree with Kajal wholeheartedly, there seemed a little bit of truth in Kajal’s assassination of Arpit’s behavior. “Yeah, maybe you are right. Anyway, it’s time to go home. Let’s leave.”
“No, you go. I have to go for basketball practice in 5 minutes. See you tomorrow in class.”
Waving her goodbye, Simmi went to the parking to get her Scooty. When she was getting ready to take off, Arpit suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Remembering her earlier resolution to ignore him, Simmi determinedly didn’t look at him and took her Scooty out of the stand.
Seeing Simmi so angry on him, Arpit couldn’t help but grin. At last this girl was showing some spunk to him. And he definitely liked what he saw. Getting tired to being ignored, he snatched the Scooty out of Simmi’s hands, forcing her to look at him.
“Wow. You squint in anger.”
Once decided, Simmi always prevailed against all the odds to follow her goal, and right now her goal was to ignore Arpit. So she just gave him stony silence.
Seeing how angry Simmi was, Arpit really felt remorseful. He had never meant to insult her; it was just that he had lost his temper on her friend and somehow had wanted to punish Simmi for being her friend. He knew it was illogical and so he wanted to apologize to Simmi. However, as he didn’t know where to start because he wasn’t in the habit of apologizing much, he had started with the squinting thing. But it seemed that Simmi was too angry to smile at his overture. Ah, now it seemed that there’s no other way but to grovel. Maybe he could manage to do so keeping his dignity intact.
“Well, I am sorry.”
Simmi didn’t react at all to his apology. She continued to give him stony silence with a blank look.
“Look, I said sorry, didn’t I?” Still, Simmi remained silent. Seeing Simmi so unmoved by his repeated apology, Arpit started getting worked up.
“Well, here I am apologizing to you and you are giving me an evil eye?”
At last Simmi couldn’t help but make a jab. “Well, your apology doesn’t sound like an apology to me. Just saying sorry after calling somebody a street dog is not enough. If you are truly sorry, you need to do better than this.”
Well, well, well. This girl had some serious guts, Arpit thought with pride. “Ok. I am sorry that I lost my temper with you. I was angry with your friend and wanted to lash out. You were there and convenient, and so I lashed out. And believe me, I do regret doing it. Why do you think I came here if not to apologize?”
“Maybe to get your motor bike?”
“I don’t park my motor bike over here. So no to that.”
“Are you seriously sorry? How do I know that you won’t again insult me? Looking at your past behavior, I don’t think I should trust you as far as I can throw you.”
“Well, you can take my word for it. And I have never given my word lightly before.”
Simmi badly wanted to trust Arpit but she simply couldn’t. To solve the matter, she simply let it go. “Ok.”
“Ok? You mean you forgive me?”
“Yes, I do. However, the next time you are rude to me, I will not let the matter go.”
Again Arpit got that peculiar feeling of happiness that he usually got around Simmi. “Great. Don’t worry. There won’t be a next time.” Saying that, he just grabbed Simmi and kissed her on the forehead; and before Simmi could react, Arpit just strolled out of the parking lot, whistling an old cheerful song under his breath.