Part 18

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Manik was missing Nandini and the thought that she will be going away from him soon had started worrying him. He was lost thinking about it. Manik didn't remember to call Alya as he told her.

Manik wasn't able to sleep. At midnight he received a message from Nandini wishing him for his birthday. Manik called Nandini and talked to her. Nandini told him that she went to drop her cousin and got delayed, so she couldn't come home. After talking to Nandini for sometime, he felt a little better and went to sleep.

Manik was holding Nandini's hands and slowly her hands slid away from his hands. Nandini started going away from him. He tried to move forward and stop her, but couldn't. His legs were tied. The distance between them increased and Nandini was no where to be seen. Though it was all a dream, Manik felt as though it was happening in real. He called out her name loud and this woke him up.

Manik sat on his bed tensed. Nandini walked into the room just a few minutes later. Manik was a little relieved after seeing her.

Nandini : "Happy Birthday, Manik!"

Manik : "Thank you!"

Manik : "How did you manage to wake up and come home so early in spite of staying up late?"

Nandini : "I couldn't wish you in person yesterday. Thought of wishing you today before you get busy with other things, so I came early."

Manik freshened up. He was thinking about his dream.

Manik : "Nandini, will you still remember me when you go abroad? Will you miss me?"

Nandini had been questioning herself for quite sometime as to how she is going to manage staying away from him, and here he was asking her if she will remember him.

Nandini : "Why are you asking like that? Of course, I am going to remember you and miss you."

Manik : "There is no particular reason, I asked just like that. I will miss you a lot too."

Seeing him sad, she tried to lighten his mood.

Nandini : "You convince your parents and marry Alya soon. Then you will get busy with your married life. Forget about missing me, probably you won't find time to even think about me. May be, I will have to remind you who I am when I meet you after a few years."

Manik : "You are very special to me. No matter what happens, I will never forget you."

Nandini didn't want him to be upset on his birthday. So she tried to divert him. Nandini gave him the gift she got for him.

Nandini : "You have almost everything. So I couldn't think of what else to give you."

Nandini had given him a frame which had a collection of his photos. She had captured his happy moments since they became good friends.

Manik : "When did you take these? I don't even remember posing for them."

Nandini : "That is because I clicked them without telling you. It wouldn't have been natural otherwise."

Nandini explained when she had taken each photo. It reminded him of all the happy times and he was smiling.

Nandini : "Keep smiling like this always."

Nandini : "May all your wishes come true."

Manik : "Thank you!"

They were chatting for sometime.

Manik : "I will be giving a small party for my friends in the evening. You also join us."

Nandini tried to avoid knowing that her presence may not be liked by others.

Nandini : "What will I do amongst your friends? I don't even know them well."

Manik : "You wished me sometime back and now you are only not ready to fulfill my wish."

Nandini didn't want to disappoint him and so she agreed.

Alya was upset with Manik's behavior the previous day. He didn't call her and try to pacify her like usual. She called and wished Manik later during the day once she had cooled down.

In the evening at the party, Manik made sure that he was beside Nandini always. He didn't want her to feel left out. Also a feeling that he might lose her had started developing in him.

Alya was watching all this. She didn't like Manik paying attention to Nandini. They were all going to hit the dance floor. Alya wanted to get Nandini away from Manik, so she spilled wine on Nandini's dress.

Alya : "I am sorry. It was a mistake."

Nandini : "It's alright."

Alya : "I think you should go and clean it. Otherwise it may stain your dress."

Nandini went to clean her dress. Alya thought she was successful in her plan, but though Manik was present with them, he was looking in the direction Nandini went very often.

Manik's thoughts: "Why hasn't she come back yet? May be I should go and check on her."

Before he could go looking for her, Nandini came back. Instead of joining them on the dance floor, she sat down at their table. Manik came to her.

Manik : "Why are you sitting alone here? Come, join us."

While dancing, Alya put her foot in Nandini's way so that she trips and falls on the dance floor. She expected Nandini would get hurt and leave the dance floor. Nandini tripped as expected, but she didn't fall.

Manik saw that Nandini lost her balance. He came to her rescue and held her from falling.

Manik : "Are you okay?"

Nandu : "Yes, I am."

Alya's plan backfired. Instead of distancing Nandini from Manik, it only got them more closer.

Manik didn't realize that his behavior would have irked Alya. He didn't know that Alya intentionally spilled wine on Nandini's dress or tried to trip Nandini.

Alya didn't know the reason for Manik's changed behavior the previous day, but after seeing Manik paying too much attention towards Nandini, she felt that Nandini was the reason.

Alya began to think if Manik is paying so much attention there, then he might be paying a lot more attention at home. Alya felt that there was something going on between Manik and Nandini. They weren't just friends as Manik had mentioned before.

Alya was fuming with anger by the time party was over, but she couldn't vent out her anger in a public place, so she had to keep quiet.

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