Manik was staring at Nandini who had been sleeping in his arms from two hours. He was sitting behind her and she was sleeping in between his leg resting her head on his chest. His one hand was wrapped around her chest and other was entwined with her hand which he was kissing after every few minutes.
Suddenly she woke up and hugged him tightly, digging her face in his chest and wrapping her arms around his neck. She was shivering again because of fear. Manik pursed his lips to control his emotions and embraced her in his arms.
“Did you see a bad dream again ?” He asked after composing himself rubbing her back.
“It-it was so-so scary.” She replied, hugging him tighter.
“I am with you, Nandini.”He was constantly kissing her head and rubbing her back. She felt better in his arms like always. As she stopped shivering, he sighed.
She broke the hug after a few minutes. “Feeling better?” He asked, cupping her face and looking deeply into her eyes.
“Yes.” She replied, gazing into his eyes.
“Now you get fresh. Then we will have lunch and I don’t want to listen no because we have already skipped breakfast.” He kissed her forehead and said strictly. She just nodded her head meekly. Manik heart was breaking from inside seeing her pale face and her eyes which were filled with pain and fear. But still, he was trying to be strong for his star.
“Manik, I am scared. I can’t go to the bathroom alone.” She suddenly spoke.
“Nandini, I am outside only. I am not going anywhere and don’t lock the door, I will come inside immediately if you get scared, Promise.” He gulped down the lumps in his throat and spoke stroking her face.
She slightly nodded her head before getting up from the bed. Manik also stood up. She glanced at him and walked to the washroom, facing her back to him. She turned her face to look at him again. He gave her a small smile and blinked his eyes. She went to the washroom.
As she closed the door, few tears rolled down from his eyes. He couldn’t see her like this, so broken, so scared and so weak. She was never like this before, she was strong. Her condition was breaking his heart more and more. But he was ready to do anything to take her of the pain.
On the other hand, Nandini was standing naked under the shower like a lifeless soul. She was staring straight without blinking her eyes. Last night incident was revolving in her mind.
Manik had been anxiously roaming across his room from fifteen minutes which were like fifteen hours. He thought to check her.
“Nandini…” He called her two three times knocking the door but didn’t get any response from her. He became more worried.
“Nandini, are you alright? Say something.” He started crying. Next moment he just opened the door without thinking anything. She was standing, facing her back to him and water was falling down her naked body. Manik looked at her and after composing himself he strolled to her.
“Nandini,”’ he called her by putting his hand on her shoulder, she flinched as his hand touched her body.
Then she turned immediately and hugged him, burying her face in the chest and gripping his t-shirt. Manik was taken aback. He slowly wrapped his hand around her naked body. She shivered as his hand touched her body and she pushed herself into him more like she wanted him to store her in his arms forever. He also hugged her more tightly. She was getting relief in his arms. He was kissing her shoulder softly, but stopped as she spoke.
“Manik, I think-I think I am going crazy. I am losing my mind. I think I will never able to forget that incident. I will remain like this, scared and weak. I don’t want to be like this, Manik. I want myself back. It is hurting a lot. I forget who I was? My mind is only thinking about the last night. Manik, I think I lost myself forever. I am feeling nothing except the pain and fear, I’m just scared. That incident is haunting me, Manik. They almost raped me. They could have raped me completely. They crushed my soul. I am scared, Manik. I am scared. When this pain will go Manik? When?” She again cried loudly in agony, resting her head on his chest. He was trying hard to control his emotions after listening to her words and howls, but it was getting difficult for him.
“I have to be strong for my star. I can’t let her break down in front of my eyes a bit by bit. I will make my star shine again.” Manik’s heart was aching painfully and he was crying, seeing his condition.
“Nandini, look into my eyes.” He broke the hug and asked her to look into his eyes by cupping her face. She looked into his eyes after listening to him. They both were crying and their tears were getting mix with the water.
“Trust me, Nandini, I won’t let anybody harm you again. I am sorry that I couldn’t protect you at that time. But I promise you, Nandini, I will bring happiness in your life back and always protect you like a shield. You know it’s hurting here to see you in this condition.” He placed her hand over his heart.
“And my heart will only get relief when I bring a smile on your face and after I get it, I will keep it safe and never let it go away from your face. That’s my promise to you, Nandini. You are not alone in this. I am with you. Your every pain and sorrow is mine. You are not alone, Nandini. I am with you. I know you will fight back from your fear because you’re strong, Nandini. You are not weak, Nandini, you are strong.” He was trying to encourage her to fight back from her fear and also assuring her that he would heal her.
“Just surrender yourself to me and you will be fine.” He spoke last few words after resting his head over her. Both closed their eyes and got lost in each other. Nandini was feeling better now. She was saying herself in her mind, “I am strong and I will fight.” His words encouraged her. Manik was just praying to god to make his star shine again.
“I love you, Manik.” She confessed, hugging him again.
Manik hugged her back thinking “Just wait for a few hours more. I will tell you how much I love from the day I have seen you. I will make your this night so special that you will only remember this night and forget all your pain. You will just smile by remembering our beautiful night.”