Both of them were well aware that a kiss could never remain ‘just a kiss’ between them. In fact, Nandini had tried to stop him too. But Manik had insisted. He was helpless before her tempting laughter and cute giggles, the slender form in his arms. He couldn’t stop himself from kissing her..

And when they kissed…

The time came to a standstill, making them helpless under the intoxicating effect of their mutual craving for each other. He tucked her to the wall behind her and held her face in his palms, kissing every corner of her mouth. She curled her fingers over his tee-shirt and moved them so slowly over it that it stirred him. She kissed him as intensely as he did.

They had a history. Once they began, there was no stopping. It was as if they were under a spell, under a magnetic pull from the other. On top of that, the feeling was equal on both sides. Her delicate hands did wonders to his skin and his smell knocked her out of her senses.

The intensity soared higher with every kiss, every touch… making them breathless… as they moved closer, melting as one, in a rapid flow of surging desires. For a moment, it seemed no end to this madness. But good sense had to prevail.

He was the first one to initiate the kiss. He was also the first one to realize that it was going in a different dimension. Slowly, he withdrew his lips from hers and took a deep breath, still holding her in his arms, his face still very close to her. She was surprised. His eyes delved deeper into her eyes. She was clueless. She didn’t understand what was going on. She was the one who had been stopping him initially. She had hesitated. But now, she was the one who didn’t want to stop.

“What happened?” Nandini asked, slightly hard on the breath.

“You were right. We shouldn’t be doing it.” Manik replied, his breath fanning her face, over her pretty cheeks.

“No… I was wrong. I think we should just stop thinking much… let’s do it…”

He smiled adoringly, touching his fingers on her cheeks and jawline, caressing her, “Seriously? You think so? You have no idea how difficult it is… for me…”

“Difficult?”

“Yup. I’m already struggling with a lot of feelings. I don’t want to add more to them.”

She lowered her eyes and pressed her lips together, before she said in a low voice, “I don’t understand. We’ve done this before.”

“No. Trust me. We haven’t done this before.” Manik replied.

“What do you mean?” She asked.

He explained, “Look.. what we did in Miami was a reckless mistake. Mindlessness. Madness. A fiery attraction. We were physically attracted. We knew that it was ‘lust’… We couldn’t deal with it and gave up. But it’s different this time…”

“Different? How?”

He separated from her and shrugged, “Didn’t you say, last night, that we have always been very clear about us before this. But not anymore… We don’t even know what this new feeling between us, is… We haven’t named it as yet… and it is certainly not ‘lust’…”

She nodded to agree, “Hmm… yeah, it isn’t ‘lust’… It’s something deeper…”

He folded his hands across his chest and leaned by the wall, observing her, “Don’t you think that it could be something dangerous… something complicated…”

“And you don’t want to complicate it further?”

“Yes, you got that right! I think we shouldn’t sleep with each other, at least not without knowing what’s going on between us.”

“Do you know what’s going on?” She asked him, innocently fluttering her eyes.

He swayed his jaw in a tease, “Mmm… I guess so… Do you?”

She chewed her lip, squeezed her eyes, looked here and there, sniffed some air, and whispered, “Maybe!”

“Okay! So go ahead. Say it!”

“Why me?”

He pretended to think and then rolled his eyes, before he said, “Becaaaauusssse… You are a girl. Girls are emotional, sensitive… they feel more and express more of themselves… Boys are reserved… they take a long time to express themselves.”

She stared at him in disbelief, “You? Manik Malhotra? You take time to express yourself?? Since when?”

He made an irritated face, “Okay… chuck all the reasoning. Go ahead and tell me what you feel.”

“But why me, I asked you… In fact, I am a girl. I can’t risk flaunting my emotions, kept on a display to later feel hurt if they are not reciprocated.”

“Trust me, nothing will go wrong. It’s ‘me’, Manik, you are dealing with.” He held her shoulders and spoke in a husky voice, looking deeply in her eyes.

She pretended that she was about to say something, opened her mouth, then closed it on the second thought and then pursed her lips. All the while, he expectantly observed her and waited for her to say it.

“What? You are testing my patience.” He grumbled.

She nodded with a teasing smile, “Not so soon, Manik Malhotra, it’s ‘me’ Nandini Murthy that you are dealing with!”

With that, she laughed loudly pointing at the zapped look on his face. He took a deep breath, held her arms, and dragged her close to him, “So, Miss Nandini Murthy, I promise that you will say that before you leave this room today.”

She giggled more, in a sweet, melodious voice, “And if I don’t? You will say it ten times? In a row?”

“Challenge accepted!!”

…………..

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