Fiction XV

She tries to keep her eyes open. Damn! she shouldn’t have had that last drink. Now he’ll see her drunk. “What if I say something stupid?” she almost says out loud.

“As opposed to the brilliance I exude otherwise?”, she thinks to herself.

She douses her face with cold water. Once. Twice. Thrice.

“There, that should do it.”

She walks out of the washroom, her steps faltering.

“Steady,”she tells herself, “You can do this.”

He smiles.

“Damn that smile. Don’t say anything.” she tells herself.

“Nice smile.” She says out loud. “Shut up shut up shut up!” she thinks to herself.

She remembers laughing at all those drunk heroine scenes in all those movies. Dil to Pagal hai, Dilwale dulhaniya le jayenge. . . “Who does that?” she used to think. Now she knows. Idiots like her. She promises herself that she’ll not do the “professing love” bit at least.

“I really like you you know. Like really.” Damn. Damn. Damn.

“You go to sleep now. We’ll talk in the morning.” He replies.

“I’ll sleep when I want to. Sound familiar?” She asks.

“Very. But go sleep now. I’ll still be here tomorrow. Neither of us is going to die in the near future. ”

“No. I want to talk. ” she wails.

Five minutes later, she’s asleep, right there, with her glasses on. He slowly removes them. And nudges her awake.

“Where am I?” she mumbles.

“At my place. Go sleep on the bed.”

She gets up, her steps faltering. He’s right behind her. With a hand on her back, he guides her into the bedroom and tucks her in. She sits up again.

Now what? he askes impatiently.

She opens her arms for a hug. He bends down, just a little, quickly gives her a pat and then tucks her back in.

“Goodnight” he says, and walks away, not knowing she’s not going to sleep anytime soon.

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