Sana had been drifting in and out of consciousness for what seemed like hours now. The last thing she remembered was being drugged in a lane next to her PG. She’d gone there because her roommate had texted her to, but she had no clue about what was waiting for her. When she finally regained consciousness, she tried keeping her eyes shut because she didn’t know what would happen if they found out she was awake. God, what were they going to do to her? And where was Ish? They could kill her and sell all her organs if that would keep Ish safe. They only wanted her for revenge, right? So they probably didn’t do anything to him. The thought of Ish safe made Sana want to smile, but she had to keep her body as lifeless as possible, so she refrained. All of it was making her head dizzy, but there was nothing she could do.
“It’s been three hours. Why isn’t she awake yet? Did you mess up the chloroform dosage, idiot?”, she heard Rishi growl.
“N-no.” Someone stuttered. “I did it carefully. She should have been awake by now. I had nothing to do with it, I swear.”
“Useless. You’re all useless. Wait till Papa knows about this.” Rishi’s voice was plain cruel. “We need to take videos of her and send them to Ishaan. Only then can we take her away. He needs to know just how close he was to getting her. But she’s ruining all my plans. Shake her! Wake her up, somehow. Just do it. I don’t care how.”
She could feel two hands on her body. One was slapping her cheek brutally and the other was nudging her hip by force. She was in pain but she knew that if she opened her eyes, it would be far worse. She tried to disconnect from where she was and think of Ish. There were nights in the past year when she’d wondered if what they were had even meant anything to him, and as the tears wouldn’t stop, she’d think of their good times together. Yeah, thinking of him always helped. She thought of the last time she was on his bike, holding on to him as he promised her a getaway to Shimla the next weekend. She’d kill for that getaway now.
Another harsh slap, and then another. Just as she was preparing herself for the next one, she heard a sudden noise of feet and voices and what sounded like camera flashes.
“What the hell is this?” She heard Rishi scream. And if she wasn’t wrong, that was fear in his voice. What had happened? She was tempted to open her eyes, but she didn’t let herself. This wasn’t the time to take a risk. She’d know sooner or later anyway.
“You want to explain what’s happening to these people, or should I?” Ishaan’s voice! Wait, she wasn’t hallucinating, was she? No, it couldn’t be. She finally opened her lids half-way to catch a peek and there he was! Ish was here. And as she looked around, she finally saw her surroundings and around ten or twelve people with cameras and mics in their hands. Reporters, she assumed. They started talking all at once, aiming questions at Rishi. Sana noticed the two goons around her backing away. She glanced at Ish and he was staring right back at her.
“I’m so sorry”, he mouthed at her. His voice was pained; it looked like he hadn’t slept in months. And right then, she knew it was as hard for him as it was for her. She smiled back. It didn’t matter; none of it did. She was just happy he’d come for her.
Most of the questions bounced right off her head, but she did notice Rishi had nothing to say. He only picked up his phone to make a call – to his father, Sana assumed – and that only aggravated the reporters further. Ishaan took that moment to speak up on behalf of Rishi and compensate for his silence.
“He won’t say anything until his father arrives and threatens to either blacklist all of you or throw you in jail. But don’t worry, that’s their MO. As for Rishi, he’ll stand behind his father and cower in fear. That’s what cowards do. So let me tell you what he did and why you’re here. Rishi kidnapped my girlfriend to get back at me for an incident that happened two years ago. An incident that was meant to be a friendly match between two schools; but apparently, cowards don’t take failure too well. And this isn’t the first time he’s harmed us either. Last New Year’s, he hired someone to crash into our car and planned it to make it seem like an accident. The truck’s license plate was never registered. I’ve been getting threats for the last two years and this is just the culmination of wanting to take revenge over a match that my team and I had won fair and square.” Ishaan paused to take a breath and come over to untie Sana. He took the gag off her mouth and freed her hands and legs from the chair.
“I don’t know what they did to her, but I hope Sana remembers enough to tell you what happened to her today. And I hope after today, nobody else has to suffer because of somebody else’s ego issues or easy power and resources at hand. Thank you for covering this today.”
The reporters who were silent all this time to listen to him attentively now focused their attention on Sana. Before she could answer their questions, Ishaan wrapped an arm around her and whispered, “You okay?”
She nodded in return but didn’t tell him that her head had spinning ever since she’d re-gained consciousness. Ishaan went to get a mic for her and came right back. When he did, Sana’s body leaned into his. He thought she wanted to hold him for strength, but when he looked at her, he gasped because her lids were shut and her body was lifeless. And this time, for real.