Story 76

Sequel to Story 70

She did not know what it was that woke her up but she was wide awake now; watching him sleep next to her on bed. It took a while for her to realize that he was not in her bed, it was the other way around.
The early morning sun’s rays entered the room through the open window. She had spent the entire night in his bed. She wanted to get up and walk out of the apartment but she could not move. He was still holding her hand. He was fast asleep and she could hear his light snoring but his grip on her hand was still strong.


She took a close look at his features. She had never seen him from so close. He had a fair and clear skin, a perfectly straight nose and beautiful lips. He was smiling in his sleep; she wanted to enter his dream and know what he was smiling about. He looked handsome; so much that she was tempted to kiss him.
‘What was she thinking!’ she asked herself. She had already made a mess of things by walking into his bedroom the previous night and now she wanted to kiss him. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She wanted to move out of the apartment, she had to check whether her boyfriend had messaged her after what had happened between them. She tried to pull out her hand from his grip but could not. She sighed. She had to wait till he loosened his grip. She hoped he would not get up then, because it would be an awkward situation, perhaps for both of them. 




She wanted to get up and go before he woke up. She was not sure how she was going to face him the next time they met. How was she supposed to behave? Normally? As if nothing had happened between them? Actually, nothing HAD happened between them, they had just slept together in bed, he had held her hand and helped her fall asleep. As she was drifting into sleep she had felt his hand in her hair. He had run his hand over her head, that’s all. That is all that had happened.
She remembered having a nightmare. She had woken up screaming. He had calmed her down, held her in his arms. She had let him. They had slept then, she still wrapped in his arms. She had fallen asleep in his embrace. She did not know when he had let go of her and held her hand again. That’s it – that was the most intimate moment they had shared, she convinced herself.


She had woken up again, he was still holding her in his arms; she had been too close to his face, too close to his lips – his smiling lips. She had moved closer and placed her lips over his, kissing him softly. He had been fast asleep and had not responded. Then, she had slept again.
“What had she done?” she asked herself as she moved her free hand over her lips. She could not believe she had kissed him. True, she had not been in proper frame of mind but she had surprised herself by kissing him.
He was not a total stranger but she did not even know him too well. They had met a couple of times, she had been to his house to request him to give her his painkiller and he had given them to her without questions. He trusted her that she would not misuse them and she had kept his trust; returning the painkillers when she did not need them as she willed the headache away.
Apart from this, they hardly spoke.


Yesterday was the first time she had entered his bedroom. It was the first time she had really talked to him.
She knew he had feelings for her. She did not know whether it was love or not but she was sure he was attracted to her. Now, she wondered, whether the time they had spent together would change anything for him; whether he would start expecting from her. No, she could not let that happen. She had a boyfriend. She was looking forward to a steady relationship with her boyfriend; she would not let this man be a part of her life, she told herself.


She was getting tired of waiting for him to loosen his grip on her hand. She tried again and this time he loosened his grip, seeing that he was about to wake up she closed her eyes immediately. She felt him leaving her hand and turning around in bed. She opened her eyes and stayed still for a while and when he did not move again she slipped out of bed. She tiptoed out of the bedroom and walked towards the main door; she turned back again and searched for a piece of paper and found it along with a pen. She scribbled a quick ‘thank you’ and kept it on the dining table where he could find it easily. She owed him this much, she thought as she opened the main door and stepped outside.

What happened next shocked her. She stepped out of the neighbor’s apartment and turned towards her and saw her boyfriend standing outside her apartment, waiting to knock on the door.
He stared at her, disbelievingly. Her hair was a mess; she was a mess. She was wearing the same clothes she had been wearing yesterday and she had just sneaked out of her neighbor’s apartment. Her boyfriend did his calculations and walked away.
She closed her eyes and rested her head against the wall. He had calculated wrong. Yes, she had spent the night in the neighbor’s apartment but nothing had happened; apart from that foolish kiss, she reminded herself. She was not sure how she was going to set things straight; she was not sure whether she would tell her boyfriend about the kiss. No, she would not. No way.


She opened her apartment door with her keys and stepped inside. She checked her mobile phone. Her boyfriend had called her several times, left a few voicemails for her. He had been worried about her. She should have stayed back in her apartment, she scolded herself. Maybe, he would have come back, maybe they would have finished what they had started. It was too late to think about it now. She had to talk to him and apologize.
She dialed his number, which went straight to voicemail. She left a message for him saying it was not what it seemed like. There was an explanation and she needed a chance to talk. She waited for his call but it did not come.
She brushed her teeth and had her coffee. She took a quick shower and got ready to go to work. She checked her mobile, there was no new notification. She would call him from the office, she told herself as she opened the main door. She looked towards the neighbor’s apartment involuntarily and stepped out when she saw that it was closed.


---


Her hand in his felt good. Her body close to his felt good. He held her hand in his, but rest of their bodies did not touch. He concentrated on her face, on the problems she had just told him about to stop himself from being aroused. He moved his hand over her head, her soft hair felt like velvet to his touch. He inhaled deeply and smelled her hair – mixed smell of shampoo and sweat assaulted his nostrils. He watched her as she slept and did not know when he fell asleep.
She had woken up screaming. She had a nightmare. He had placed his hand over her shoulder and she had rushed into his arms. He had wrapped his arms around her and held her close. They had slept again, still in embrace. He did not want to let her go. He had been asleep when he had felt her soft breath on his face; he had not been prepared for what happened next but he did not show his surprise. He pretended to be asleep but he felt her soft lips over his. She had kissed him. He was tempted to respond but he did not and soon enough the moment was over. She had fallen asleep again.


He opened his eyes and looked at her, she was fast asleep and her lips were slightly parted. He wanted to kiss her, wanted to touch her lips but he did not. He would never take undue advantage of her situation. He loved her and wanted her in his life but not like this. She had trusted him with the intimate details of her life, she had come to him for support and he had supported her, he had taken care of her and that’s it – at least for now. At least until she took the next step, he told himself.
Despite everything, the closeness was getting too much to bear. He inhaled the sweet smell of her skin as he took a breath, he could feel the warmth of her body through the fabric of her shirt and he could not take it any longer. He let her go and moved away from her. He knew he had to; it would have not been possible for him to stay unaffected for a long time. 
She shivered and whimpered in her sleep and he held her hand once again and fell asleep.


He felt her trying to pull out her hand from his grip. He did not want to wake up, not yet. However, he realized that she was wide awake and she wanted to walk out. He let go of her hand and turned around. He waited to see what she would do next. He was a fool to even consider it; but he wanted her to shift close to him and put an arm around him. He could feel her weight being lifted off from the bed. She was going to sneak out, he knew.
He got up after he heard the main door being closed. He climbed out of bed and walked out. He saw the ‘thank you’ note she had left for him. He looked through the peep-hole and saw her standing right outside, staring at someone and a while later he saw her boyfriend walking past his door.


He tried to see her but she was out of his field of vision. He wanted to open the door and call out to her because he knew what must have happened. Her boyfriend must have seen her step out of his apartment and assumed something had happened between the two of them. Something did happen, he reminded himself. He had wrapped his arms around her and she had kissed him. Should he forget about it convincing himself that she had done what she had done because she had been upset earlier or she had been sleepy and had not really known it was him next to her in bed? What was he supposed to do? He heard the door of her apartment being closed and then he walked back in.


He brushed his teeth and had coffee. He did not want to take a shower, he wanted her touch to stay a little while longer. He idled around the house until it was time when she usually left for office; he rushed to the door and looked through the peep-hole and saw her walk hurriedly past his door without even glancing towards it. He was disappointed. What was he expecting? She would knock at his door and say bye? She could have at least glanced at his door while walking past, then he would have known that she was still thinking about the night she had spent in his house. No matter how hard he tried to convince himself that it was fine, a weird ache took over his heart and then the entire body and he walked to the bathroom and took a shower. He got ready to go to work and stepped out of his apartment.


---


He never saw her at the bus-stop, since she always boarded the bus before he reached but today she was still there, waiting for her bus. He stopped at a distance as he saw her and almost at the same time she saw him. He tried to read her body language. Was she embarrassed to see him? He continued walking and reached the bus-stop.
‘Hi’ she said as he was a listening distance.
“Hi.” He said and stood next to her but not facing her.
He had not expected this to be as awkward as it was. Had things really changed between them? For good or for bad? He wondered. He had to break the awkward silence if he wanted to keep talking to her in future.
He was about to say that he was glad he could be of some help to her but before he could say anything her bus arrived and she said ‘bye’ and got into it. He closed his eyes and cursed his fate.



---


Seeing him walking towards the bus-stop was a surprise. She had never seen him before today. She did not know how to react. She knew it would be an embarrassing situation for both of them. She watched him stop for a moment before coming towards her, he was trying to read her reaction. As he walked closer and she could see his pretty face clearly, memories of the kiss returned. She smiled and said ‘hi’; he replied with a hi and stood next to her. She wanted him to say something. She wanted to tell him how thankful she was to him for being there for her the previous night. Then she remembered what she had promised herself. She was not going to give him any chance to expect anything from her. She wanted no further complications.


Thankfully, her bus arrived the next moment, she said a quick bye and boarded the bus.
She started to walk towards the front of the bus but suddenly someone held her hand and stopped her. She turned around and was shocked to see who it was who had held her hand to stop her. Her first reaction should have been to pull her hand out from the grip but she was too shocked to react. Her Uncle smiled at her as he tightened his grip on her hand. The seat next to him was unoccupied. He pulled her closer and made her sit next to him, the bus stopped suddenly and she almost sat on his lap. He put his hands around her waist to support her and helped her sit next to him.


She should have gotten up, she should have walked to the front, she should have gotten down from the bus but she did not move; she could not even take her hand out of his. Finally, he let go of her hand and she relaxed but it was momentary. He casually placed his hand on her thigh and asked her how she was. She heard a faraway voice replying to him. Her skin where he touched began to itch, she wanted to slap his hand and scream but she could not move. He started to stroke her thigh slowly and she could see the woman on the adjacent seat staring at them.
‘Please stop’ she said but he continued; she realized she had not spoken out loud. He turned to face her, removing his hand from her thigh and placing it over her shoulder.


“Do you have a boyfriend?” he asked her and she looked at him, surprised. He smiled, the smile of many years ago had not changed at all. She had not known then, but now she knew what the smile meant. She had been too occupied thinking about the past and was not prepared for what happened next. He placed his hand in between her legs. The bus stopped suddenly and she felt his hand close to her private part. She stood up and said it was her stop and she had to get down,m even though she was a couple of stops away from her office. She felt his hand on her butt as she slid past him and rushed to the front of the bus. As she got down she saw her Uncle getting down from the back-end. She started to walk faster and he followed.
She was too slow for him. He reached her and placed a hand on her waist and pulled her closer to him.


“Don’t create a scene on the road. I just want to get to know you as a grown up, what have you been up to these days? Do you have a boyfriend? Are you still a virgin?” he asked her as they continued walking. She started to shiver.
“Take a left here” he said and pulled her towards an alley. “I just want to feel you, that is all.” He said as they walked deeper into the alley. When he was sure there was no one around he pushed her towards the wall and pinned her with one hand, his other hand reaching in between her legs.


“It was better when you wore skirt” he said and laughed as he unbuttoned her jeans, unzipped it and slid his hand inside. He bent forward to kiss her at the same time. She began to shudder uncontrollably. “Please let me go” she wanted to say but she could not because he had covered her mouth with his. She could smell the cigarette in his breath as he continued kissing her. His busy hand shifted from her private part to her breast and he began stroking it trying to arouse her.


‘Come on, show me some love; we are meeting after so many years.” He said after he stopped kissing her; his hand still on her breast. She was on the verge of crying.
Suddenly, she felt him being yanked away. A familiar face filled her blurred field of vision. As tears began to flow she could see him clearly. He punched her Uncle in the face and turned towards her and said “don’t worry, you are safe now.”


“Uncle” she tried to say amidst the bursts of sobs. “He’s the one I told you about.” She told him and started sobbing uncontrollably. She slid down and sat on the ground. She was in shock and did not realize the fly of her jeans was still open. Her breast hurt, a lot. She did not see what happened around her but she knew he was beating her Uncle black and blue. She heard footsteps running away and she heard some more following suit and as she turned to watch she saw him hitting her Uncle with a stone and finally her uncle managed to run away.
He approached her and helped her stand up. It was too embarrassing but she let him zip and button her jeans. He asked her to lean on him as he started to walk towards the main street.


He hailed a cab and got in along with her. He took her to her apartment, opened the door with the keys she gave him and made her sit on the couch. He brought a wet napkin and asked her to wipe her face clean but she could not move. He started to wipe her face with the napkin and she let him.
“I want to file a police complaint against him.” She whispered.
“Okay” he replied and continued cleaning her face and then she went into his arms.


---


He had just reached his office and decided to smoke a cigarette before settling in. He was looking out of the window facing the alley when he saw her being molested. His heart broke to see that she was too shocked to react and was letting the man do things to her. He ran towards the staircase and climbed down two steps at a time and reached the alley to see the man groping her breast. He rushed towards them and yanked the man away. He punched the man and turned towards her to tell her that she was safe; the fly of her jeans was open and she was trembling with fear. He had planned to slap the man a few times and take him to police station but he lost it when she told him that the man was her uncle, the same one who had molested her when she was a child. And then, he could think no more.


He beat the man black and blue, he ran behind the man as he tried to escape and picked up a stone before he reached the man and hit him on the head with it. He would have perhaps killed the man had he not ran away.
He rushed back towards her and helped her stand up. He closed the zip of her jeans and buttoned it. He brought her to her apartment and cleaned her face with a wet napkin. She told him that she wanted to file a police complaint against her uncle, he was glad she had taken the decision. Then, she went into his arms.


---


He was still holding her when she finally stopped crying. He let go of her and wiped her tears. Here they were, once again in similar situation; this time in her apartment. She was a mess, her nose bright red and leaking and her eyes swollen because of crying. Despite all of that, he wanted to kiss her. He moved closer to her, unsure whether it was appropriate to continue but she answered for him.


She moved her face closer to his and kissed him on the lips. He responded. He could taste the lingering presence of the man in her mouth – the stink of cigarette but he did not want to stop. She did, she stopped. She got up from the couch and walked to the bathroom. He heard her rinsing her mouth and then closing of the bathroom door. He heard the sound of running water; she was taking a shower. He stood up to go but then changed his mind.


He waited for her to step out. He looked around at the bedroom. It was neat and tidy, unlike his. He was going through her books when he heard her stepping out. He turned around and saw her wrapped in towel, her glistening fair skin was inviting him to touch it. Water dripped from her wet hair and he was aroused.
“I should go” he said and tried to walk past her. “please stay” she said and he stopped. She took out clothes from the wardrobe walked back to the bathroom. She was dressed when she came back.
She almost ran towards him and kissed him on the lips and he had to place his hand on her waist to steady himself. He felt her freeze for a moment but then she started kissing him again.


---


She had tried her best to deny her feelings for him but the fact was she loved him more than she realized she did. She tried to keep distance convincing herself that doing so would stop him from making advances but the fact was she had been trying to stay away because she was afraid of what she might do.


At one point she wanted a steady relationship with her boyfriend and wanted to take the next step but now she wanted no one else but him, her neighbor, the man who had been there for her during her emotional turmoil and physical assault.
She knew he loved her, maybe that was what had made her confide in him in first place but now, her advances were not because of what he felt for her or what he had done for her; she kissed him now because she finally accepted that she loved him, a lot.


She trusted him enough to know that he would not rush things. She noticed how he avoided touching her too much, how he stopped himself from reaching towards her breast even though he wanted to. She respected him for the control he had over himself, she loved him because of how he made her feel, secure and loved.


Maybe not now, but soon enough she knew she would be able to get past the level of kissing, soon she would let him touch her; she knew when they would make love she would be free from the memories of the past, she knew he would make it memorable.


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