Manik:- After that incident, I lost faith in the word LOVE. I started believing that no one would cherish my innocence and always make a fool of me. I started doubting myself. But you entered my life and everything changed for me. ( With a content smile on his face ) You changed everything for me. You bring happiness and laughter back into my life. You made me confident, I sang in front of the whole crowd which I will never do in my life. ( While chuckling ) You made me do all the crazy stuff from having roadside snacks to laughing at your sarcastic comments. 

Nandini smiles hearing his indirect confession and smiles finding content in his eyes. For her, his eyes speak volumes which he never does. Her mother told her one thing that imprinted in her mind; men are not good with words. They care and love you the most but will never accept that because they are scared of losing their loved ones. And here, she is witnessing the same. From his words or eyes, she can say he has immense love for her but won’t say that aloud. 

Nandini:- ( Whispers, timidly ) So, you love me? 

Manik:- ( Blushingly ) No doubt! 

Nandini:- ( Whines ) Why don’t you say that out loud? 

Manik:- I am sacred, Fireball. I got rejected by the first girl with whom I saw the dream of having my happily ever after. Alya was the first girl to whom I gave my attention leaving everything and in return, she gave me the trauma. She made me believe that the person to whom I ever love will leave me. 

Nandini:- ( Cutting him in mid, instantly ) But, I won’t leave you ever. 

Manik:- I know, but my mind cannot digest the fact that there is someone for whom I AM EVERYTHING. ( Looking into her eyes ) There is a girl who is ready to accept me with all my flaws. 

Nandini understood him and smiled which reflected on his lips too. She caresses his cheeks, making him smile, feeling her softness. Out of nowhere, she spoke angrily, making him scared. 

Nandini:- ( Angrily ) I hope that I will meet that Skeleton bit*h once again and then I will show her WHO IS THE TRUE VAMP HERE. ( Grabbing his collar ) Agar maine us SKELETON BITCH ki 206 bones ko 412 nahi kar diya na toh mera naam Nandini nahi. ( I will change my name if I don’t increase the number of bones in her from 206 to 412. ) 

Manik:- ( Scaredly, rubbing her back to calm her ) You don’t have to get into this. 

Nandini:- ( Shouts on his face ) Why? Do you sympathize with her? 

Manik:- ( exclaimed ) No! Never! 

Nandini:- Then, why? 

Manik:- I don’t know, but I don’t want you to go on her enemies list ever. She is very powerful and can spoil anyone’s image for her selfish reasons. To be honest, I can’t see you hurt. I remembered the scene when I saw you motionless, lying on that hospital bed. 

He closes his eyes remembering the day when she was lying on his lap motionless. Unknowingly, his tears emerged and all he has is fear. Fear of losing her. Whereas she does nothing except admire him. 

Manik:- I lost my breath when I saw you in that condition. You fainted…. In… in my arms and I… I did nothing. 

Nandini cups his cheek and wipes his tears. 

Nandini:- That was not your mistake, Shyboy. 

Manik:- ( Disappointedly ) Still, I did nothing for you. 

Nandini signs and rolls her eyes. She kisses his wet cheeks and wipes his tears. 

Nandini:- My stupid Shyboy, you are impossible. 

He hums and snuggles in her arms like a child. Unknown to him, he is raising her body temperature as his breath falls on her neck, making her want something from him. So, she made a decent gap and changed the topic. 

Nandini:- So, you won’t ever say I love you to me. 

Manik:- ( Cutely ) Please, give me some time to get my courage back to say those words. It takes a lot for me to give myself a second chance in love only because I CAN’T SEE YOU WITH ANYONE EXCEPT ME. ( Looks down because of shyness ) It hurt me a lot when I saw you in Karan’s arms. I killed him many times in my mind because he made you laugh just like I do. 

Nandini:- ( Pulling his cheeks ) Oh mere possessive Shyboy… ( Oh, my possessive, Shyboy. ) When you will understand that I AM ALL YOURS. 

Manik:- ( Shyly, not meeting her eyes ) I know that. 

Nandini:- ( Dramatically ) I got an antique boyfriend who gets all possessive for me and also shies away from me. God, what antique Shyboy you created! ( Bites his cheek, making him wince ) Don’t blame me, one day I will eat you raw because you are so cute. 

Manik giggles and pulls her closer whereas she screams excitedly. 

Manik:- Now, what silliest idea do you have? 

Nandini:- ( Excitedly, ignoring his comment ) Can’t we use code words? 

Manik:- Code words for what? 

Nandini:- For I love you. 

Manik:- Good idea! So, suggest something. 

Nandini:- Umm… What about, I hate you ka opposite? ( Reverse of I hate you ) 

Manik:- No!

Nandini:- Then, I have cond*m. What do you say? 

Manik:- ( With wide eyes ) What!… Is this your code word for I love you? 

Nandini:- ( Cutely ) Unique, no? 

Manik:- ( Palms his face ) Yaa, if anyone hears you then they will think “How horny these guys are!” 

Nandini:- Correct… So, cancel? 

Manik:- Unfortunately.  

Nandini:- What about Āmi tōmākē bhālōbāsi?

Manik:- No! ( After a pause ) What about, Mummy Mangayi…? ( Mom agreed…? ) 

Nandini:- ( In her sassy tone ) Meri Sasu Maa toh kab ki maan gayi thi. Only you are the one who delayed. ( My mother-in-law had agreed long ago. ) 

He does nothing except shake his head in disbelief. Out of a sudden, he looked at her with love and captured her attention with his words. 

Manik:- ( Sincerely ) Nandini, In this world, I love my parents the most, and after that, it comes to MUSIC. 

He took a dramatic pause and Nandini was waiting for him to complete, patiently. 

Manik:- ( Continues ) But from now you come before music because YOU ARE MY MUSIC. 

Nandini becomes speechless because he compares her with the music, HIS BREAD EARNER. She never thought that one day she would be this close to him as his music is. 

Manik:- ( Kissing the back of her hand ) YOU ARE MY MUSIC. YOU ARE THE STRINGS OF MY GUITAR WHICH I WANT TO PLAY EVERY DAY AND ANYTIME. After this, I don’t think you ever need those words. 

If there was any other girl than Nandini then she would cry but Nandini is Nandini. She has a Ph.D. degree in spoiling romantic situations with her funny remarks. 

Nandini:- What did you have in the breakfast? A ROMEO-JULIET or HEER RANJHA? ( Dramatically ) Don’t tell me you had a William Shakespeare drink with that.

Manik scrunches his nose whereas she laughs hysterically. 

Nandini:- I never thought that you would be this romantic. ( Teasingly ) Tell me seriously, did you belong to RANJHA? I mean, is he your ancestor by any chance? 

Manik:- ( Whines ) Ah… Fireball, I hate you. Here, I am saying such romantic things and you are making fun of me. 

Nandini giggles in return and pecks his lips, making him go redder. She climbs on him and lies down keeping her head on her hands above his chest. Both shared a cute eye lock which is broken by him as he turns his head to hide his blush. He snaked his hand around her waist and caged her tightly, making her smirk. 

Nandini:- Is my Shyboy getting naughty? ( His blush increases ) He is getting touchy with me. 

Manik:- ( Looking at somewhere else ) I am not getting touchy. YOU ARE MINE SO, SHOWING MY RIGHTS ON YOU. BY THE WAY, I LOVE WHEN YOU STAY CLOSE TO ME. 

Nandini:- Shyboy, are you on drugs? I can’t expect such bold statements from my little innocent Shyboy. 

Manik:- ( Huskily ) Yes, I consumed the drug named Fireball Nandini. 

Nandini raised herself a little and checked his forehead and arms for any kind of injury. 

Nandini:- Did you have an accident while coming here? ( Looking at his body ) Show me where you got cut.

Manik:- ( With a smirk ) If you want to see me nak*d then say it rightfully. You don’t have to give excuses for it. 

He gives her a teasing glance but she knows how to wipe his smirks in a second. She held the hem of his t-shirt to pull it out. 

Nandini:- Ok! Then, remove your clothes. I want to see you in your birth form. 

And as expected, his smirks vanished in a nano-second and horror struck him, making him yell. Swiftly, he captured her hands. 

Manik:- Gandi ladki!… In the age of seeing our kids without clothes, you want to see me like that. 

Nandini:- ( Using her logic to shut him ) How can I see my kids nak*d when I haven’t seen their father like that yet? By the way, what happened to my Shyboy? Woh sati savitri wali image ko kya hogaya? ( What happened to his innocent image? )

Manik:- ( Cutely ) Your Shyboy became Nandiniholic! 

Nandini:- Hayee… koi mujhe mera purana wala Shyboy louta do. Is Romeo Shyboy ko mai kaise handle karugi? ( Please… give me back my Shyboy. How would I handle this romantic version of my Shyboy? ) 

Manik giggles hearing her cute dramatic tone and her expressions are the cherry on top. Unknown to anyone, he is coming out of his shell.

To be continued…

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