Her head was spinning. This couldn’t be real. She maintained her composure and tried to stay calm.
“How do you even know that?”
“I know them.” He said simply, his face straight.
She wanted to scream. She didn’t understand why he was acting like this. Why couldn’t he just tell her everything? He’d kept her in the dark for more than a year. The least she deserved was to know what was going on.
“The people who’re trying to kill us.” She couldn’t hold it in any longer. She screamed. “Can you just tell me everything? I don’t like suspense. And I sure as hell don’t like it when it includes you. Either you tell me everything or you watch me walk away. It’s as simple as that.”
“I am telling you the truth!” He ran his fingers through his hair in frustration.
“No, you’re not. You’re telling me the convenient parts of what you know so you can cover the ugly bits. That’s not how it works. I was fine until an hour ago. You come back into my life and make everything complicated all over again. So the least you can do is tell me the entire truth. Because honestly, I’m scared, and confused, and I am imagining things in my head, none of which are pleasant.”
He crushed her to himself the next second. “You don’t have to be scared. Nothing’s going to happen to you. I promise.”
She wanted to tell him that she was more worried about him than herself, but she didn’t. She slowly freed herself from his embrace. She spoke softly. “What’s going on, Ish?”
He looked at her for a second, and it took him all he had to not ask her to stay with him the whole day. “Meet me after college?”
She looked away for a minute and answered after a while. “Time?”
“CCD at six? You don’t want to?”
Her smile was sad. “I don’t have a choice, do I?”
Pain swept through him and he asked himself how he’d stayed away for so long. “You don’t know how much I wish things were different.”
“Doesn’t matter anymore. I’ll see you at six, okay?” She said, and walked away.
He half-hoped she’d have smiled before leaving, at least. Just so he’d know that she was still his. But they didn’t have time for this anymore. There were other things that were more important.
His cell phone rang. He spoke in hushed tones.
“Jai? Did you find out whose number that is?…Good…Do me a favour, send his details to me, and I’ll take it over from here….Thanks, man. I owe you one.”
She arrived right at six. That was one of the things he loved most about her. She didn’t like being late, unlike most girls her age. Dressed in pants and a sleeveless blouse, she looked breathtaking. She didn’t even have to try, she made beautiful sound good.
“You look amazing.” He said, as she took her seat. He’d tried to hold it in, but he couldn’t.
She half-smiled, and then stopped. “Let’s cut to the chase, please? I need to know. It’s been eating me away all this while.” She said restlessly.
“Alright.” He said, and began.
“Remember that football match we’d had? The controversial one? The one where the captain of River Valley was really injured because of me?”
She thought for a second and it came back to her. “Yeah, and you didn’t apologize because you thought you’d done nothing wrong.”
“Right. And they lost. For the first time in their school’s history. They were unbeatable until the day they came across us. But that’s not where it stopped. I got threatened and I’d get constant messages and calls from private numbers and it continued for a long time.”
Sana knew none of this. “Wait. What?! Why did you never tell me any of this?”
“Because I didn’t want you to worry about me. I thought it would be fine. I was obviously wrong. The night before our accident, I got a message from a private number. It said, "Wait and watch. This New Year’s will teach you what loss feels like.”“
Sana gasped. He continued. "I obviously didn’t pay any heed to it, thinking it was another one of their empty threats. I’d never been more wrong in my life.”
She had goosebumps. “So it’s one of them? The guys from River Valley school?”
“It’s not one of them. It’s their leader. The guy who was the captain. Rishi. Do you know what his father does?”
“What?” Her life was starting to feel like a nightmare, with every passing second.
“He has three criminal cases pending against him. He’s as powerful as he is, sinister. It took me a while to get all this information, and be completely sure that I was right.”
“Alright. Wait. So you’re saying that a guy whose dad’s a criminal wants to get us killed?”
Sana could hardly breathe after what he said next. “Not us. You. You were the loss he was talking about.”
to be continued…