She stared at him with her eyes brimmed with tears and took away her hand from his hold. “You are lying, Manik.” As she uttered, he instantly shook his head.
“No, Nandini, I am not lying. I really love you from my heart, trust me.” Manik lifted his hand to hold her face, but she stood up before he could even touch her. He was shocked after seeing her reaction. He had thought that she would become happy to know that he was also in love with her. But her reaction was unexpected for him.
“No, you are lying, Manik. I know,” she shrieked, crying. He also stood up and strode to her. It was hurting him to see tears in her eyes. He wasn’t understanding why she was thinking that he was lying.
He pulled her toward himself by grasping her arms and gazed into her eyes deeply. “Why would I lie, Nandini?” He asked.
“You are faking that you love me. You are doing this for Shivansh. You want me to get fine and after that, you will again break my heart and you will accuse me more.” Manik left her arms as he listened to her words and lowered his gaze in guilt. It was his mistake only that she wasn’t trusting him. He forced her to never trust him. He became numb at that moment. He was regretting badly and feeling guilty for breaking the heart of his star.
“How much more you want to break this already broken heart, Manik?” She yelled, holding the collars of his shirt. He closed his eyes dejectedly. He was drowning into the pool of guilt because his star was crying because of him. Now he was ready to do anything to earn the trust of his star.
He cupped her face and intensely looked into her eyes which were filled with tears. “Nandini, I accused you earlier because I wanted you to hate me and move on from me. I am really sorry that I was only thinking about Shivansh, not… about you. I am so sorry, Nandini. But believe me, I love you. Now I am ready to fight from the whole for us. I want you to shine for me always.” He was also on the verge of crying. Nandini was listening to him and crying silently.
“I am sorry, Nandini, for breaking your heart. I am really sorry that I accused you. You know when I said those words to you, it hurt me too and my heart also broke down.” He apologised, wiping her tears with his thumbs softly. She closed her eyes and got lost in his touch. Her hands left his collar and placed them over his face.
“Please forgive me.” He cried and begged for forgiveness, touching his face with her. She was also crying holding his face. Her heart wanted to believe him but her mind was not letting her believe him. Her mind was, again and again, making her remember how he had accused her and broken her heart.
She screamed after pushing him away from her. “I want to go home. I don’t want to live with you. I don’t want your fake love and concern. I am strong enough to handle myself. I don’t need your fake love, Manik Malhotra. Please stop acting.”
She ran from there. Manik rushed behind her while saying her to stop.
She was running downstairs, crying badly. She was about to slip down but Manik caught her in arms on right time. She held his shirt tightly and hid her face in his chest. She got scared. Manik sighed with relief. She raised her face to look at him. Both looked into each other eyes deeply. Her eyes were filled with pain and his eyes were filled with guilt. They kept gazing into each other eyes for a few minutes. Manik tucked her few hair strands behind her ear which were coming in her eyes.
“Thank god, you are fine Nandini.” He made her stand straight and hugged her tightly. Nandini was taken aback with his sudden hug. He was pulling her more and more closer to himself like he wanted to store her in his arms. Nandini’s heart badly wanted to hug him back but her mind was stopping her from hugging him back. She clutched her hands and shut her eyes tightly to control herself from hugging him back.
As Manik pulled away from her, she uttered, looking at him blankly. “Don’t give me fake hope, Manik. I can’t take more pain. I am tired.” He closed his eyes and pursed his lips to control himself from crying again.
“Please, let me go,” As she begged, he instantly opened his eyes after listening to her words.
“No… Nandini. This time I won’t let you go. At this moment, you need me the most and I am sorry to say my love, I won’t listen to you and let you go. I can’t let you go in this condition. Your eyes are screaming to me that you need me and I can read your eyes, Nandini, because I love you.“ He cupped her face and made her look into his eyes.
“No, you don’t love me. You said that you can never love me.” His hands left her face, he looked down in guilt.
But he composed himself and spoke looking at her. “I said because I wanted you to hate me. I was thinking I am coming between you and Shivansh. I am ruining your marriage. I am snatching Shivansh’s love from him. All these things were keeping me away from you. Your love was making me weak. I wanted you to hate me and love Shivansh again. I didn’t know that you have never loved him. I only love you, Nandini. This heart is beating for you. This heart only wants you.” He held her hand and placed over his heart. Nandini was looking at him, having pain in her eyes and trying to believe him.
“I tried a lot to run away from you but couldn’t. I fell in love with you from the very first day when my eyes fell over you. Stars are my forever favourite and now you are my most favourite star. You are my shining star, Nandini. You have no idea that I am dying to see your smile. I want you to shine again. I promise you this time I won’t let your shine go away. I can do anything to make my star shine again. I can go to any extent to make you smile because I love you. It hurts to see you in pain. It hurts to see your pale face. It hurts a lot, Nandini. Just give me one last chance to prove my love, I promise you that I will fill your life with happiness.” His clasped her face and said whatever was going in his mind and heart.
“I am tired, Manik. I can’t bear more pain. I need time. I am scared of my life. I don’t know how much more pain, my life has stored for me.” She sat down on the stairs and started crying holding her head. Manik sat beside her, having tears in his eyes. His heart was crying seeing her in pain. He didn’t know when everything would get fine.
“I think falling in love with you was a sin, that’s why God is punishing me. Right ?” She suddenly asked, looking at Manik. He instantly nodded his head in no.
“You are thinking wrong Nandini. Love can never be wrong. Falling in love with somebody, it is not in our hands. Love just happens. I also used to think that I did something wrong to fall in love with you. But Nandini, why our love is wrong? Our love is true and pure, Nandini. That’s why our destiny has always brought us closer. We tried to run away from each other. We tried to run away from our feelings. I tried to push you away. But look where we are? We are together. I am just tired, Nandini, from running away from you. Now I don’t even want to think what is right, what is wrong. The only thing which matters to me is that we both love each other. If you are with me then I can fight with this whole world for our love. Whatever the path may be, I want to walk that with you.” Manik entwined his hands with her hands and tried to explain in his best way that their love is not wrong.
“I love you, Manik. I don’t want to lose you. I want you to be with me forever. But I am afraid of my life.” She spoke having fear in her voice and eyes. She rested her head on his chest and he embraced her in his warm arms and kissed the head.
“One day our love will win, Nandini. We will fight from this world together. Our love will surely win, Nandini.. one day.”He whispered, hugging her more tightly. She was snuggling in his arms and wanted him to store her in his protective arms. His arms were like heaven on the earth for her. It took away all her pain and stress like magic. She forgot about the whole world after coming into his arms.
“So, would you give me a chance?” He broke the hug and asked, looking at her nervously. She was silently looking at him. She was trying to read his eyes.
“Yes…” She nodded her head. He sighed and smiled slightly in response.
“But what about Shivansh?” His face turned pale as she asked this question.
Nandini was looking at him sitting on the stairs. Manik stood up and said looking straight. “I don’t know. But I have decided that I can’t hide the truth from him anymore. He deserves to know.”
He didn’t want to share with Nandini that how much scared he was. The truth would surely affect their friendship. He could even lose him forever. He was scared to lose him. But he couldn’t share his fear with Nandini at this moment because she was not in the right state of my mind. She was overthinking about everything. He knew, if he would share about his fear, she would start blaming herself and in all this, she could even harm herself. He didn’t want to give her any stress.
“I don’t want to come between you and Shivansh’s friendship.” She uttered, standing up and Manik instantly looked at her.
“Nandini, you are not coming in between our friendship. He will surely understand us. You know, he knows that I am in love with a married woman. He is supporting me from day one and asking me to accept the girl whom I love. He will surely understand us, Nandini.” He held her hands and squeezed them. She was looking at him, having fear in her eyes and he blinked his eyes. Manik himself was scared but still, he was assuring her that Shivansh will understand. This called true love.
“I am tired. I want to sleep.” She uttered after a few minutes of silence. He slightly nodded his head in response. They walked downstairs, and he led her to his room.
“Change it.” He gave his shirt to her. She took it, looking at him.
“Tell me when you are done.” He stood, facing his back to her. He didn’t want to take the risk of leaving her alone again.
“I am done.” As he heard her voice, he instantly turned around.
“You look amazing in my shirt.” He whispered after coming close to her.
“The surprise was beautiful, Manik. But I spoiled everything. You did so much for me but I still blamed you. I am really..” he shushed her putting his finger on her lips before she could again apologise. Both were gazing in each other eyes deeply.
“You don’t need to apologise. It was my fault only. I gave you the reason to doubt me.”
“Come… it’s time for your medicine.” He spoke after a few minutes of silence and took her to bed by holding her hand. He made her sit on the bed with the support of the pillow and covered her legs with the blanket. He laid her down after giving her the medicine. He lay down beside her. As he lay down, she buried her face in his chest, wrapped her arm around him and put her knee on his waist. He instantly wrapped his arms around her.
“I love you, my star.” He confessed and kissed her hair. She automatically smiled in response wholeheartedly after so many days. Her heart was jumping inside happily to know that Manik was also in love with her.
“I love you more.” She raised her face and smiled at him. Manik also smiled broadly after seeing her star smiling again. He was dying to see her beautiful smile. Finally, he got her smile back. He kissed her forehead softly and she closed her eyes in response to feel the touch of his lips. With this forehead kiss, he promised her that he would not let this smile go away from her face. She again buried her face in his chest and felt so good to hear his soothing heartbeat. She fell asleep within a few minutes only because of the effect of medicine and also the effect of his arms. Manik was happy after so many days. After so many sleepless nights, he finally slept peacefully that night. It happened because of her beautiful smile. Her smile gave peace to his mind, soul and heart.