“I don’t want you anywhere near or around Sahil!”

Manik had ordered in clear straight words. She rolled her eyes and stopped dancing with him.

She smiled sarcastically. “What makes you think that I am listening to you?”

“Won’t you?” He felt disappointed.

“Why would I?” She asked in an angry tone, challenging him to reply back.

“Because we are friends?!” He said.

She huffed, and walked away, “What a joke!”

He was left zapped at that and for a full minute, he looked at her walking away. He couldn’t believe it that she said that and was now leaving the party in anger.

Wasn’t she the one who wanted nothing to do with him? Wasn’t she the one who didn’t want an affair with him? Wasn’t she the one ashamed to be associated with him? Didn’t she want their steamy rendezvous in Miami to be kept in wraps… forgotten as a one-off thing?

Now, why was she behaving as if he had dumped her?

She confused him, maddened him, and drove him sick. Sick with a lump in his throat, hating that she was not talking to him, he stayed still at his place for a few minutes. He knew that he needed to talk to her. Even if she didn’t want to talk, he would now have to force her to talk to him.

Their stupid affair at Miami had distanced the best of friends so much that now she considered it as a joke when he said that they were friends. Did she have any idea that she was the only girl, he had considered his friend, his best friend… and still believed in it.

After a moment’s contemplation, and making a decision to talk to her, he followed her. By the time, he was in the corridor outside the hall, she was nowhere to be seen. He searched for her in the small alleys leading to the exteriors and also around the stairs. But he failed.

How could she disappear so fast? He thought.

…….

Upset Nandini decided to leave the community center and go back to her home. When she walked out of the long corridor, she realized that she didn’t have much strength to walk. It didn’t look good to leave the party too. She needed fresh air and she needed to vent out her frustration, maybe by taking a small walk and when she felt better, then she could go back to the party.

She walked around for a moment and then followed a small path towards the garden inside the community center. It was almost midnight and too dark in the garden. Only a few lamp posts glowing with yellow lamps lit the space.

She walked towards a stone fountain in the center of the garden, with artistic, old-style paintings and sculpting on the circular trough around it. She sat on that white marble trough.

She never realized when her teardrop fell on her hand and she raised her hand to wipe that tear. Her friendship with Manik had been so strong that she had never needed any other friend to share her issues. So, though she had other friends, she realized that she couldn’t share her deepest feelings with them. She had always shared everything with Manik. Even her relationships. And now, she couldn’t even talk to him. She had no one to talk to.

Her love for Manik and her hatred for the same made her heart melt into a puddle of jelly. She knew that she was a gone case, now. And she didn’t know what the future held for both of them. They had complicated their relationship beyond repair.

“Thinking about me?” A confident voice hit her ears.

She looked at him and felt uneasy. Sahil was standing there, looking at her with an expression, she didn’t understand. She didn’t reply to him.

“You didn’t answer me. I hope you were thinking about me and shedding tears?” His tone was bitter.

She felt irritated at him, and the way he was trying to be bossy around her. Didn’t he know that no one dictated terms to Nandini Murthy. No one, means NO ONE.

She frowned, “Mr. Sahil. We barely know each other. You have no right to talk to me like that.”

“Ah??” He laughed sarcastically and said, “I know. We barely know each other. If you have forgotten, our parents have fixed our marriage and if all goes well, we will be married in four months.”

His tone, his voice, his mannerism was so demeaning that she immediately hated him. Manik or no Manik, was another issue, but she was definitely not going to marry this swine. She glared at him bitterly, “In your dreams, mister.”

“Of course. I should have got that. You love someone else, right?”

“Get lost.” She gritted her teeth.

“When everyone is celebrating our alliance inside, you are shedding tears for another man here.” he barked bitterly, coming dangerously closer to her. With one sweep, he wrapped his arm around her lower back and took her in a hug. She struggled with him.

“Leave me, you pig.” She tried to push him away.

“Rich Murthys and their sexy daughter – too much of a fortune to be left like that.” He drew her closer and wrapped both his arms around her.

“Leave me.”

“Who is the guy?” He roared to ask.

“None of your business.” She sharply replied.

“Yes, it is my business. I have never failed in anything in my life… school, college, job, business… I had girls lined up for me… I refused them to say yes to you. Now, I won’t have a ‘no’ from you.” He pulled her closer and tried to kiss her.

“Stop it, Sahil. Are you drunk?” She fought with him and pushed his face away using her palms.

His arms were around her as he pushed her towards a pillar near the fountain and tucked her to that, “If you can’t be mine, I wish you and your loser boyfriend remember me forever. I want some share of the love that makes you cry for him.”

“Shut up! You are not in your senses, right now. You are drunk, you idiot…leave me…” Nandini struggled harder but Sahil’s arms tightly held her and he pushed her more, trapping her between the pillar and him and tried to kiss her again.

“I will leave you… but not before I make you bruised and asking for more.” He seductively smiled, lust dripping from his eyes, “Not my fault, sweetheart. You look gorgeous tonight.”

“Help!” Nandini shouted for help when she couldn’t push him away. She felt terrified. She felt helpless.

He tried to kiss her once again,  but before his filthy lips could touch her, he felt a strong, masculine punch right at his nose. He had been drunk, so he staggered and was unable to control his posture before another punch hit his jaw. He fell down. And his nose started bleeding.

Nandini had a sigh of relief when she saw Manik hurling two punches back to back, on Sahil, to deal with the assault. She was so disturbed that she was almost trembling by now. Manik was threatening Sahil, who had stood up now, “Stop harassing her. Talk to me, you brute! Real men don’t force themselves on girls.”

“Who are you to interrupt? We are getting married in a few months. I have every right…”

Manik interrupted him, yelling on him in a bossy tone, “First thing first, she IS NOT marrying you. I won’t let her. And second, don’t you DARE try to touch her ever again. I’ll rip your skin apart.”

His voice was so strong that Sahil was scared. He was already bleeding. He spoke something to threaten Manik and walked away, assuring them that he was going to give them back for the insult and the punches.

When he left, Manik turned to take care of Nandini. She was standing next to the pillar, shocked and blank, and almost shivering now. Without speaking any word, he walked before her and drew her in his arms. She effortlessly slipped towards him, curling her arms around him, hiding her tiny form in his chest while he enclosed her in his embrace.

He hugged her strongly, drawing her closer. So warmly he enclosed her that she was almost wrapped entirely by his arms around her.

“Oh, Manik…” She whispered, over his chest, in pain and relief. He kissed her hair lightly and patted her head softly.  

“Don’t worry. I’m right here.” 

…………………………………

{Thanks for reading. Next update – tomorrow.}

5 thoughts on “Fire & Ice: Chapter 13: Dare

  1. This is like so heroic…my god manik really is a hero here..and hate guys like sahil..who try to use their physical force on them.. nice story..no wonder it was trending on Wattpad for so long…thku for the updates di..

  2. Awwwww manik what a cutie 🥰
    And Sahil I just wanna beat him up too, just cause they’ll be getting married soon, he thinks he’s got a right over her already, god I hate men like that!

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