“We have arrived!” Kaushal said bringing Manik and Nandini back from their different zones. One is not ready to believe her presence and the other one doesn’t know what is happening to her. 

As soon as the car stops at its desired destination, Manik walks out from there like thin air. He doesn’t want to face HER again because his heart is melting seeing her tears. He wanted to give her the same pain that he felt when SHE LEFT HIM IN THE MIDDLE. 

“What happened to him? He is behaving weirdly.” Aditya asks, making a bad face seeing Manik’s strange behavior, and continues, “One second he wants to stay close to the girl, and another second he runs away from her like she is some shark who will swallow him raw.” 

“Girls are more dangerous than sharks. You don’t know my Rajani, she will kill me if I f*ck around like an animal.” Kaushal said timidly hiding his fear and continued after composing himself, “Take her ( eyeing Nandini ) inside, I will come after parking the car.” 

“What!” Aditya shouts in his high-pitched tone, making everyone deaf. He remembered Manik’s red eyes and the look which passed him when he was about to touch that girl. “Bhai will kill me if I touch that girl.” He continued in a terrified tone. 

“Why will he kill you for that girl?” Kaushal asked confusingly not getting his point as he didn’t witness the scene. 

“Don’t know… but I can’t bear his angry looks again. I won’t touch that girl again, not even any other girl.” Aditya declared with finality in his tone and got down from the car. 

“What rubbish!… Just take her inside or else I will kill you right now.” Kaushal dismissed all his excuses giving him a stern look while showing him his revolver. 

Aditya gulped hard and planned his funeral giving accusing looks to Kaushal. Not having any other option he opens the back door and looks at Nandini who looks back at him with her innocent doe eyes. For a second, he melts seeing her innocence and feels bad for her. 

Till now, Nandini is just listening to their conversation and fearing the future. The tears are still flowing from her eyes. She is thinking of all possible aspects of what would happen to her here. She wanted to go away from here but her damn leg is not supporting her. The pain in her leg becomes unbearable over time. 

Aditya moves his hands to pick her up but Nandini moves back sacredly and curls herself in one corner. “Hey… Calm down… I will just take you inside…” He tried to calm her down but how can he expect her to cooperate with him in this situation?

Nandini didn’t even move an inch from her place. So, Aditya forcefully picks her up in his arms and walks inside the old cottage whose condition is not even nearly too good. Don’t know why but she didn’t like his touch the way she liked the previous touch. She didn’t wrap her hands around his neck the way she did with that man. Unknown to anyone, her eyes are looking for that one face. 

Otherside, Manik is smoking while looking out from the window with thousands of thoughts running through his mind whose central idea is NANDINI. He comes out from his thoughts when he hears the sound of the door and looks at Aditya who walks inside holding Nandini in his arms. Apart from that what he noticed is that Nandini’s head is resting on his chest. His blood boiled in a second and his eyes turned red in a rage. He trashes his cigarette while giving him murderous looks who gulps hard seeing the MONSTER

“Aaltu jalaltu Manik Bhai ko taal tu… Aaltu jalaltu Manik Bhai ko taal tu…” Aditya took a deep breath and murmured while trying hard to avoid his Manik Bhai. Nandini, whose ears are close to his mouth, heard him and a smile spread on her lips unknowingly adding fuel to Manik’s anger. 

“Bahut hasi aarahi hai… haa?” ( Smiling a lot… Huh? ) Manik asks harshly, wiping the smile from Nandini’s lips. She didn’t even glance at him but still, she can feel his eyes on her which makes her feel hot whereas Aditya frowns. 

Ignoring him, Aditya swiftly places Nandini in the corner of the room and was just going to stand but falls on her because her chain is stuck in his shirt. 

“Amma…” Aditya screamed in horror followed by Nandini who also screamed because of pain when her injured leg touched the floor. Without looking back at the Monster, he tries hard to separate himself from the girl as soon as possible. In the rush, the upper hook of Nandini’s blouse broke which goes unnoticed by everyone except Manik. 

The absence of her upper hook shows her cleavage to an extreme extent much to Manik’s disliking. He rolled his eyes and screamed at them, “Aab kya uske sath suhagraat manayega?… Dur hat usse.” ( Now will you spend the wedding night with her?… Move away! ) 

Aditya and Nandini both jolted away in fear and at the same time, Kaushal entered the room and looked at the scenario with a frown. Manik’s red and angry eyes are at Aditya, seeing his expressions anyone can guess that the Monster is back but he didn’t get the reason why he is behaving like a Monster around the girl. 

After what felt like an eternity, Aditya moves back and goes away from the girl, maintaining the distance between the girl and himself. At that exact moment, Kaushal’s eyes fell on the girl’s face and his eyes went wide with shock. He can’t believe that his eyes just witnessed the face that he last saw 18 years back. “MANIK?” Just a simple word comes out of his mouth whereas Manik avoids looking at him. 

“H…. How?” Kaushal wants to form the full sentence but his words are ditching him at the moment. 

Manik completely ignores their presence and asks for the first aid box. “Adi, bring the first aid kit. I have to treat her wound.” 

Aditya nods without a word and brings the first aid box from the car. He walks inside the room again and continues scaredly, “Bhai… mai kardu Patti?” ( Should I give her first aid? ) He is scared that his Bhai might hurt her instead of treating her wound. 

Manik looks at him with a glare and grits his teeth while crushing his dream, “Kyu, tu uska khasam ho rakha hai?” ( Why, are you her husband? )

Aditya denied instantly and murmured silently only audible to Manik, “Par pati toh aap bhi nahi hai.” ( You are also not her husband. ) Soon he realized what he said and looked at his raging figure and murmured again, “Sorry!… Slip of tongue.”

“Teri slip of tongue kuch zyada hi slip na ho jaye yaad rakh.” Manik said angrily while gritting his teeth and seeing his anger Nandini got scared even more. She starts sweating because of fear which grabbed everyone’s attention but before anyone could say anything he said authoritatively, “Leave”. 

Aditya looks at him with wide eyes and frowns, “What?” 

Manik repeats in his harsh tone, “Leave!”

“Yes, Captain!” Aditya murmurs and drags Kaushal out with him. 

Kaushal is still in his daze and his eyes didn’t leave Nandini’s face. “ What is she doing here?……. How?” He murmured but Aditya heard him. 

“ Do you know her?” Aditya asked with a frown, bringing Kaushal out from his land. 

Kaushal denied instantly, making him more confused, “ No… “

On the other hand, Nandini curled herself in the corner, fearing Manik. She has never shared a room with a man before. So, her anxiety is increasing with the passing second. 

Manik felt bad seeing the fear in her eyes but after a second he checked his emotion and masked it with a hard face. According to him, she deserves this fear so that she can stay away from him. He walks towards her and harshly pulls her closer, “Stay still until I treat your wound.” He raised her lehenga to her knees and removed the handkerchief that he tied in the car. 

For the first time, Nandini didn’t oppose his order because she knew it was of no use. She already witnessed his nature during the journey but could not keep herself away from asking, innocently, “ Will it hurt? ” 

Manik looks into her eyes and for the first time, both share the eye lock with different emotions. He couldn’t keep himself away from drowning in the ocean of her eyes while she had no clue about it. “ It will! But I will try not to hurt you…” These words automatically slip out of his tongue. 

Manik tries to stop her bleeding after taking out the bullet while Nandini curls her fist to control her pain. She is trying to minimize her hisses so that she won’t anger him but only he knows how much her each hiss makes him weak. 

“ It’s already hurting me.” Nandini Complains innocently while Manik too replies calmly, “ It will hurt more if you don’t let me take care of it.” 

“Are you a doctor?” Nandini asks when she saw how easily he is treating her like an expert. 

Manik takes her glance before focusing on his work again knowing why she is asking this, “ No, but I am trained in all this.” 

He treated her wound completely and looked at her cleavage which is on display. He can see her globes clearly which created a desire in him to touch them. With the sight, he can say that it would be soft like jelly and will taste delicious. But he killed his craving and made a poker face. 

To be continued…

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