18: Love is in the Air
Khanak turned just in time as a huge fur ball flew across the roof garden and hurtled itself on top of her nearly knocking her over.
“HORSE!” Khanak laughed struggling to maintain her balance as the overgrown pup placed his forepaws on her shoulders and proceeded to lick her face clean with a very wet tongue.
“Horse…I missed you.. and looks like you missed me too! How have you been?” She cried burying her face in the warm thick coat hugging the furry body which shook from side to side along with the happy tail.
Shan watched silently as girl and dog met like long lost friends even though they had been apart a bare couple of days. He made no attempt to curb his pet’s enthusiasm. She needed the distraction as well as the unconditional affection that she was willing to accept.
I don’t think she’s ready to accept mine..not yet.
“Hey Horse! Down boy!”He shouted when he saw Khanak bulldozed to the ground.
She convulsed with laughter holding a hand to her stomach when she saw Shan roll around on the flagstones floor wrestling with his Akita for control.
“That’s enough alright!” Shan yelled at the point of being overpowered..
“Phew! Bless my stars that he still recalls some of the training he’s been through.” He said getting up and embarrassedly running a hand through his hair.If he was trying to impress her by a demonstration of his machismo he had failed miserably.
But Khanak wasn’t paying him any attention, instead she was thinking aloud as she scratched the Akita’s throat. He had slunk away to her seeking consolation. “Only Horse loves me for me. He never wanted to know my name..nor was he curious about where I came from. He could care less if I was an escaped convict on the run from the law. He just decided that he likes me..that’s all. He didn’t judge me..nor did he publicly humiliate me. Then why..why does everyone else?” She cried out before bursting into tears.
“Oh my poor Khanak!” Shan rushed to her side. He pulled her into his arms, rocking her gently as she sobbed.
“What have I done wrong, why should I be chastised in such a way that I can’t even see or talk to people whom I love including my own family?”
“You’ve done no wrong! It’s them and they’ll realize it soon..mark my words!”
He held her to his chest, gently stroking her hair, wishing he could say more and reassure her that she could always rely on him but didn’t want to jeopardize this new found closeness.
Perhaps she has begun to perceive me differently?
“I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have.” She said breaking away from his embrace looking flustered
He smiled. “It’s fine to cry sometimes particularly considering what you’ve been through. Don’t ever think that it’s a sign of weakness. It’s just a way of coping.”
She regarded him with red rimmed eyes. He seems so different all of a sudden. Like a friend I can trust. Khanak..you are losing it! You have to be stronger! Focus on your future! “Thanks!” She said. “But I don’t want to burden you with my problems. You have gone out of your way to help me. No one else would have done the same. You are a great and understanding Boss. I should freshen up.” She walked away with her head held high.
His eyes trailed her dejectedly. BOSS! How I hate that word!
“You’d better eat now. It’ll make you feel better and you’re very well acquainted with my rules! I don’t have to keep reminding you, do I?” Shan yelled knocking on Khanak’s bedroom door.
She opened it and glared at him. Eat! Eat! Eat! Always eat! Can’t men think of anything else? No matter what happens; how stressful the situation is; even if the world was coming to an end..they won’t let the ship sink without chomping down their last meal!
She muttered under her breath as she followed him to the dining table. “While women take pains in savoring their sorrows, men like to think of them as just another incident in a regular day..not something one broods over especially during meal time!”
“Did you say something?” He asked.
“No.” She shook her head. “I was just clearing my throat, something’s caught inside.”
“Have some water then…” He said pouring out a glass. “Here…”
She accepted with a hesitant smile. Maybe I’m being unfair. She thought taking the seat he so graciously pulled out. He’s just trying to distract me…trying to be nice.
The table had already been laid out.
“Dibu as usual has prepared a hot dinner for us. He’d be terribly disappointed if you don’t even taste his food.” Shan .
She hesitated before spooning some stuffed okra into her mouth. He was watching her like a hawk. Uhmmm..it’s not bad at all…rather it’s great!
Phew! She’s eating! That’s a positive! Praise be to you Dibu! Shan said to himself seeing her dig in with relish. At least she seems to defer to my Boss avatar! Nor is she wailing and crying buckets. (There was no dearth of pretend hysteria in showbiz…a constant source of entertainment for the masses.) He admired her tenacity. She will continue to mourn in private but will not let it make a dent on her professional face, she’s a woman to be reckoned with.
He absently rearranged the torn up chapati pieces on his plate. At least she is back here with me and not tied up to that Anand. Good I went with her or I might never have seen her again! That’s scary! He bolted upright, as a weird anxiety took grip of his innards. Gosh! That was a real close call. Her chachu would surely have locked her up or that Anand would have…
Shan recalled what Khanak’s aunt had told him about the two, that they had been best of friends all their lives and that Anand had proposed to Khanak which had been one of the reasons she had run away. He thought about that calm and serious looking face. He seemed like a cool dude. I almost feel sorry for him…He lost out big!
But why should you feel sorry?! Don’t be such a dumbass Shan! You’re feeling sympathy for a potential rival! Dumbass! You still have a long way to go!!You should thank your lucky stars, he’s safely tucked out of the way right now! Or else he’d have given you a run for your money!
He was way too into Khanak!..But what about her..Was/Does she have feelings for him too?
He didn’t like the idea. It made him squirm. Could she be pining after him?
He wanted to know..he had to know now! He chose to play Devil’s Advocate. “The wedding went well didn’t it?”
“Hmmm?” She’d been feeding Horse scraps from the table. “Yes..perhaps.” She didn’t seem too enthusiastic.
Damn! “If you don’t mind can I ask you something?”
“Go on…ask away..what do I have left to hide?” She replied with a bitter smirk.
“Uhmm.. You and Anand were very close weren’t you?”
“Yes..we were.” She said with an absent smile as her mind drifted into the past.
Suddenly he was overtaken by immense jealousy thinking of all the years Anand had spent with her, seen her smile..That lucky SOB!
“Would you have..I mean if Anand hadn’t planned on going abroad..would you have agreed to his proposal?”
Khanak was stumped, having never thought of such an eventuality. Would she have? She fiddled with the ring.
He waited patiently for her answer..his life depended on it.
After what seemed like eternity she shook her head. “No. I don’t think I’d have said yes.” Then getting up abruptly she declared. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore! It’s all over and done with..and I’ll appreciate much if you too don’t approach the topic again!”
With a determined toss of her head signaling the end of conversation she started clearing the table.
She doesn’t want to talk about him anymore? What does that mean? It means that she had and probably still harbors feelings for him!That ******! I wish I could kill him!! Shan stabbed the table with his fork. Horse growled a warning. But then I can’t! He’s her best buddy and her sister’s husband to boot! Life is a bummer!
She couldn’t sleep all night. She spent it talking to Horse who’d been banished from Shan’s room who’d seemed in a particularly dark mood after dinner. He hadn’t even said Good Night.
“What happened? What did I say that could have upset him so?” She asked the big pup. “Does he get like that often? Your master is a strange man Horse. Sometimes sweet, sometimes stern..and sometimes…”
Horse didn’t make a sound as he appeared fascinated with her ring. It shone like a star in the faint night light. He licked it.
“Don’t!” She chided him. “You may die if you swallow the stone! But it’s lovely isn’t it?” Perusing the ring again. She’d never seen anything so pristinely beautiful in her life. What a tough situation to be in! I want to give it back but he won’t take it! What does he expect me to do in return?
It was 4 am.
She pushed at Horse’s head that was resting on her belly. Yes Shan was right. He desperately needed to go on a diet. Or one day she’d be found smothered in bed. And that would be the end of Shan’s lead dancer.
She removed her bells from the top of the dresser. I have to practice and get out of these doldrums. I have a contract to fulfill!
She paused at the door of the studio with her hand on the handle. Instinct told her that she wasn’t the only one up at this hour. She flicked on the hidden switch which opened the viewing panels. Sure enough! Her boss was inside jiving to some unknown rhythm! She couldn’t make out the music as he had headphones on.
But she could tell it was a happy tune from the way he was dancing in total abandon completely immersed in a world of his own.
Fascinated, she looked on; it felt as if she was watching a rock star perform on stage, the charisma unmistakable as he sang into an imaginary microphone and played air guitar. His sleek and lithe body moving energetically emoting the words of the song.
She imagined hordes of screaming girl fans vying for his attention and couldn’t ignore a twinge of envy.
“Hey there! I did have an odd feeling of being watched!”
She jumped startled and went red in the face.
“Gotcha!” He laughed looking very cheerful in complete contrast to last night. Then he grabbed her arm and pulled her inside the studio.
“Here listen!” He instructed placing a pair of Bose headphones on her head. “Rod Stewart…it’s his 69th birthday today! But man can he belt out a song! This one’s my favorite…fits my condition to a T..almost to a T!”
She obliged looking at him doubtfully. She wasn’t a big hard rock fan.
But the music was catchy and her feet began to tap of their own accord.
Early in the morning and I can’t sleep
I can’t work and I can’t eat
She smiled nodding..
I feel drunk all day can’t concentrate
Maybe I’m making a big mistake
Cut me down like a killer shark
Like a railroad running right through my heart
Jekyll and Hyde the way I behave
Feel like I’m running on an empty gauge..
Oh no! Not again! It hurts so good..I don’t understand!
She handed him back the phones, not wanting to listen anymore, confused.
He smiled. “Weird isn’t it? How sometimes music can express our feelings much better than we can? Though I definitely don’t agree with the word ‘Infatuation’.”
She turned away trembling.
“Hey! Don’t walk away!” Pulling her around.
“I…I’m sorry to have disturbed you.” She said.
“I’m not sorry at all. Your timing was just perfect!” His gaze pierced right through her making her tremble even more.
“Besides we have to make up for lost time. We have a show to put on in a few days!”
She stood quietly while trying to wrought some control on her wobbly joints as he selected the music.
“Has Tina taught you the salsa?”
She nodded. “Just a few basic steps.”
“Good! For I was thinking of including a medley of dances from around the world. And I’m in the mood for some salsa today.”
You are ever in the mood of making me so helpless and incapacitated that I can’t escape. Not do I want to..
He approached her with a cocky swagger as the music started with a slight sensual smile on his face. The beat was unmistakably Latin, fast paced and exuberant. She bit her lower lip.
“This is not a slow waltz which you can sleep your way through. It is hot and fiery like young love.”
Love is in the air
Everywhere I look around
Love is in the air
Every sight and every sound
It was an old familiar song that she knew very well.
She weaved her cold fingers in between his as he raised them in front of his chest at shoulder height quivering when she felt his fingers brush against the ring. He gripped her tighter.
“Look up..at me!”
Her head jerked up. Feet tried to follow the beat.
“Ouch!” He hopped.
She stepped back in alarm. “I’m so sorry. Please excuse me. I..I just can’t do this today.” She turned to walk away.
“No Khanak you can!” He gripped her tightly by the arms. “And no.. you can’t leave!” He sighed. “Okay. Just do as I say.”
She waited with her head bowed.
“Close your eyes.”
“Forget about yesterday. Today is what counts and tomorrow is your future.”
He continued leaning forward, his throaty voice echoing in her ear. “Dance is our passion, rhythm is everything we do and music is our soul. We are inseparable. You and I..and we are dancing because we love to!”
“Yes! That’s true!” She smiled. Then listened as he sang along with the song.
He had a wonderful voice.
And I don’t know if I’m being foolish
Don’t know if I’m being wise
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when I look in your eyes
She felt the tension seep out of her limbs as the beats soaked in.
“Shake those hips Khanak!..C’mon..give us some oomph!”
She laughed, eyes sparkling. She was back in her element.
Love is in the air
In the whisper of the trees
Love is in the air
In the thunder of the sea
The moves flowed with ease now. They stepped back and forth in series of 8s. Limbs limber..swinging kicks ..breaking, changing direction.. The hips undulating and swaying in mesmerizing symphony. She sang along with him feeling free and joyful.
And I don’t know if I’m just dreaming
Don’t know if I feel sane
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when you call out my name
She laughed again. He was hypnotized.
Love is in the air
Love is in the air
Shoulders moved up and down in short rhythmic jerks. He grinned as she pulled his hands to her hips then spun around rolling her head back then look up and treat him to a saucy wink!
Love is in the air
In the rising of the sun
Love is in the air
When the day is nearly done
At least I’m able to make her smile. He thought as he let her go and she spun around the room dancing merrily. Her delicate yet strong figure outlined in the black leotards, in sublime balance and form just like a fine flute of wine.
And I don’t know if you’re an illusion
Don’t know if I see it true
But you’re something that I must believe in
And you’re there when I reach out for you.
He gladly received her in his arms as she spun back to him and they stood together, not breaking apart even when the music ended. Waiting for their breaths to slow down, enjoying a tender new proximity.
“Thank you. I really needed that.” She said softly.
“It was my pleasure.” He whispered, his fingers applying gentle pressure to the small of her back. “Anything for you…”
“What the F***! I’ll be damned! Ms. Goody Two Shoes is carrying on with my boyfriend behind my back!”
hayeeee the early morning dance was juz like a dreammmm PERFECT perfect timing and perfect couple Shanak 😉
man i really cant wait for their luv story to start they r staying alone together same profession madly in luv tats why i cant wait for their super hot luv story wen it actually starts heheheheheh 😉
i dont like ending 😛
i m telling u now only simi UPDATE SOON! and SUPER LONG one like this 🙂
and i love the siggie perfect for this update
ohhhh wooow finally hes realising that he likes her when is she????
cant wait for them to confess hopefully it wont take long looool
and the last bit is that a precap?????
missed u simi?
hope ur well?
Missed you too Aasma. I’m well. How abt you?
Wow … an early morning salsa on “Love is in the air” — it can’t get better than this! Khanak is attracted to Shan no doubt, but she has pride which sets her apart from the rest. And somebody is jealous with their proximity! Very romantic update. Thanks Simi!
Ok first of all sorryyy i was late to comment 🙁 had exams whole week full on stress but ur update is a full on stressbuster 😀 i am like floating n swaying wid each n every words of their dance :-* thanks a lot for such a fabulous update n obviously update soon 😉
And di plz update this update’s chapter link 🙂
Thanks for telling me. I seem to forget that detail nowadays. 🙁
Loved the early morning dance. The lyrics were so apt for them.
Dance & music binds them.
Loved the jealous shaan. But he misunderstood her.
Love is truly in the air…..
Each time they reach out they fall apart…
who’s in the end..update soon
Beautiful update, loved the music and their dance 🙂
Loved Khanak and Horse part the way both missed each other. Felt sad for Khanak the way she shared her pain with horse and cried 🙁
Loved how Shaan took Khanak in her arms and consoled her 🙂
Shaan is so jealous of Anand. He realised he likes Khanak and loved the way he always says she is mine. Khanak also attracted to Shaan and felt little envy thinking about girls around him. Aag dono taraf barabar lagi hai. When do they both realise their love 😉
Early morning and salsa dance by ShaNak ……. Haaye … Perfect dance for perfect couple 😉
Someone is jealous with ShaNak closeness. Who?
I read till the part where the ShaNak shoot for magazine last time. Eagerly waiting for that update .