“I’m standing in one place. Now, you need to choose your pick. You are coming back or should I smear the painting you have been working on, with all your dedication.” He spoke casually, keenly looking at his palms which were now smeared in red and green colours from her colour plate.
She made a terrible face and stepped forwards, closer to him, “You are so mean, Manik. This is sheer blackmail.”
He smirked and cupped his palms over her jawline, running down towards her neck in a slow, sensuous movement. She was stirred.
“I hate you!” She glared at him and muttered in an angry whisper.
He made a small pout, unable to hide his naughty chuckle. When his fingers had transferred enough of red and green smear on her face and neck, he took his hands towards her shoulders and arms, to hold her hands in his own. Her anger vanished when his hands wandered over her, like butterflies kissing her skin, like soft silk moving on her, like a breeze of warm air giving her goosebumps. Loving his naughty, mischievous smile, she observed him fondly till his eyes were locked with hers.
“What?” He asked.
“It feels so good to see you smiling like this.”
His smile widened at the compliment. “Silly girl!”
“This is such a cute, child-like, innocent smile of yours… that comes back with every mischief that you do… Reminds me of so many good memories between us.”
“Really?” He tilted his neck and held her hand to pull her towards the dresser in her room to show her face in the mirror. “I think, this moment will go down in the history of your memories for a long, long time.”
She could see him smirking, looking in the mirror. For a moment, she loved it. Only before she looked at herself and shrieked – her face, neck, and arms were shining with shades of red and green.
Irritated, she frowned and yelped, “Eeekksss! What did you do?? This colour will spoil my skin.”
“Chill!! These are just watercolors, okay? Totally harmless… And you are looking smoking hot with red all over you.” He laughed with that.
She slightly stepped sideways, dipped her fingers in the wet colour plate and turned back to him, saying, “Really? Let’s see how Manik Malhotra looks with these ‘totally harmless’ colours on him.
His expressions changed and he took a step back, warning her, “Dare you! I won’t make your projects and assignments if you do that.”
He was already late. Even before he could realize and stop her in time, she had been running her hands on his tee-shirt and his face. “Really??! Awww!! Glad I got them done before you decided to use me as a canvas. My turn now.”
He could have dodged her and used enough force to keep her away. He was way muscular, stronger, and taller than her. But he didn’t. He loved the way her fingers ran over his face and chest and he let her do whatever she wanted to and then added some more colours on her when he couldn’t hold himself anymore.
“Look at me… what did you do? Sometimes, you become just like a kid!!” She frowned looking at her face in the mirror when they were finally done with their little play of colours.
“Tch… you are sometimes so fussy. Trust me, you look lovely with these colours on you.” He smirked, holding her elbow and making her turn to him. When she saw his face and tee-shirt in colours, she couldn’t stop laughing He was mesmerized to see her laughing so beautifully.
“I hope it doesn’t leave any colour on our skin.” She was slightly worried, rubbing some of it from her arms.
“I hope not.” He shrugged.
She went inside her washroom and turned on the tap to clean her face. On an impulse, he knocked at the door.
“Come in, Manik!” She splashed water on her face and said. He entered inside and pointed towards his face, implying that he needed to wash it too. She stepped aside to let him stand beside her. He observed himself in the washroom mirror and didn’t know if he could clean it by splashing water from the washbasin.
He turned around and went further inside, ran the shower, and stood below it to wash off all the colours from his face and tee-shirt. She observed him for a moment through the mirror and then turned her neck to look at him. After few seconds, she turned the tap of the washbasin off. Instead. went towards him and stepped closer to him, to be drenched in the same water coming from the shower.
He studied her face for some time before he was compelled to use his fingers to wipe off the colours from her face. She impulsively did the same. When the colours were gone, he turned off the shower but couldn’t let go of her. When she tried to move away and she couldn’t, she realized that he had been holding her strongly at her arms.
His grip became firm to steady her. His neck bowed, almost hovering over her face, his lips seemed to approach hers as she could hear him breathe, she could feel his warm breath on her face. The scent of his intoxicating perfume made her senses go numb. She clutched his tee-shirt at his chest to anchor herself to him.
Hoping to kiss her, he brought her closer to him, moving her hands from her arms to her shoulders and holding her shoulders firmly. She was shaken and he could feel her whimper… something that made his heart do somersaults. He could feel his own goosebumps over his neck and forearms. A compelling desire, to kiss her like crazy and do things to her that made her want him more, kept growing inside him like a simmering, scorching fire.
She was nervous. She whispered,”Manik, what are you doing?”
“Nothing that we haven’t done before.”
“But…” She gulped harder.
“What?” He whispered.
“We are not supposed to do it.”
“Why not?” His husky whisper turner hoarser. He was almost mesmerized by now, hardly listening to what she was telling him.
“We were supposed to leave this business back in Miami. We had promised.”
He had a sly smile on his face when he said, “We had made another promise too, which we coolly broke, long time back.”
Confused, she asked, “Which one?”
“You tell me.”
“What? What should I tell you? I don’t know what you are talking about?” She shifted in her feet uncomfortably. They were standing too close, in each other’s arms.
“Things that you can speak in your sleep but won’t say directly to me.”
She was nervous. Gulping the saliva stuck in her throat, she cleared her throat and asked, “Did I… Did I say something in my sleep?”
He smirked and nodded, still looking keenly into her eyes, without speaking anything else.
She asked, “When? How do you know?”
“Does it matter?”
“If you won’t speak, then how would I know what you think about me?”
“You know that already, don’t you?”
“I want to hear it from your mouth. What do I mean to you?” He spoke in a husky, low tone.
Her heart was beating hard. She sighed, “We are best friends. You are someone closest to me. I really treasure you and our bond.”
Disappointed, he frowned, “That’s it??”
She moved her neck in a slight movement, “Hmm!!”
He left her with a jerk. He was visibly angry and frustrated, as he said in a terse tone, “Nice joke.”
Picking up a towel from the overhead rack, he moved out of the washroom. He hung it at his neck and was back to stand before the dresser to wipe his face, her hair and himself.
She followed him, out of the washroom, reached behind him, and smiled cutely. He closed his eyes in anger, trying to let the steam off. This time, she couldn’t stop laughing. She held his arm turning him towards her. Coming closer to him, she slipped her hands over his chest, and taking them towards his neck, she asked, “Why are you getting so upset? Did you want to hear something else?”
“Leave me. I am just so so so irritated.” He clicked his tongue inside his mouth and glared at her.
She laughed more and raised herself to tiptoe so that she could match his tall frame to reach his lips. He sighed, at the way she was trying to please him and tease him, at the same time.
“Why don’t you tell me first, if you have something to say?” She spoke in a soft tone, looking deep into his eyes, aiming to reach his lips.
“Leave it. Why waste time playing with words?” He murmured softly, almost over her lips before brushing his own with her in a light, feather-soft peck over them.
She stiffened at the memory of past kisses between them, especially the first one. Her spine arched in anticipation and a spark of bittersweet pain ran through her nerves along her straining back. She so wanted him to kiss her and still not. She knew it wasn’t going to end at a small kiss. They were almost always under a spell when they were together. She could already feel goosebumps all over her skin and tiny little tingles in her heart, making it beat harder than usual. It was so tough to resist him.
“I don’t think it is a good idea to kiss.” She whispered.
“No?” He asked, curling his arms all over her to embrace her warmly .
She grimaced, “I want to…desperately! But, I think, we shouldn’t.”
He smirked slightly, “Think??? Glad that you can still ‘think’…coz I can not. Not anymore. I have crossed a level, beyond that.”
She opened her mouth to say something but she was late. She couldn’t speak after that, because he firmly moved his lips over her in a compulsive, stirring and demanding kiss. She was always in awe of his powers to make her feel dizzy, fuzzy, numb, and dumb… all at the same time.
She didn’t know how else to respond to him, except by kissing him back, in an equally passionate flow.