Valentine’s Special (Story)

(Photo courtesy : Google)

“I…. I’m…. “

A petrified voice was struggling to come up with words.
After 12 minutes and 46 seconds, (Yes, Arnav remembers timing exactly till date as he never heard this sort of disturbance in her tone…)


“I….m rea…..huh
I…hh..really so….
I’m so sorry…….
I ain’t the one you deserve..
You…
you deserve much better….
Better than me atleast….”

Again for a few minutes the only thing to be heard from other side of the phone was a cry full of regrets…

“I did something….Terrible…” .She began to  cry again for some more minutes and said in her crying
“I know it’s not something to be forgiven but… Forgive me please…
Please…
I don’t wanna lose you…”
Her tears continued…

3 MONTHS AGO…

THEME – NEW YEAR’S EVE

After 6 rings, she saw the name SWATI was on her phones screen.
Swati“Happy New Year Prerna!”

Prerna – “If this is what you mean to be happy, then please don’t wish me”

Swati – “What the hell he did now?”

Prerna – “He’s the man in our relationship & still always I’ve to be the one to make plans. You know, he didn’t even bothered to call me today also…”
….and after showing some more aggression towards Arnav (which by the way is Prernas ‘LIFE LINE’ ), She decided to go to restaurant by herself.
As it was New year’s Eve, she was waiting furiously to get herself a seat. She never encountered such situation as Arnav used to plan for everything in advance. So all the blame for her impatience was on Arnav.
      Prerna ordered Arnavs favourite Pizza and began to send snaps to him in order to make him jealous. Arnav, who by the way was a Chartered Accountant by profession, was stucked with lot of GST work as it was last date of filing annual returns…

Leather jacket with white t-shirt in a blue jeans, blessed with sparkling dark black eyes and a so called CHARM, lost his heartbeat to Prerna. That guy was Ronny.
{Let’s understand Ronny,
Handsome gymaholic,
5’11 height.
A rambo type personality.
Ameer Baap Ki Bigdi Aulad”, had a track record of 13 full time breakups and 10 part time (which in his sense refers to on-going uninterested relationship)
Had a good time with all though
and most importantly a wildcard entrant to MBA college in which “Coincidentally” Prerna was studying. His admission took place after that New Year’s Eve….
Most importantly his real name was Raunak which he never liked to be called}

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, One of the most bullshit virus that today’s generation suffers from. I know right! I mean how the hell you substitute the word LOVE for ATTRACTION.
Anyways, that’s the same virus Ronny thought he was suffering after his SPARKLING EYES GOT STUCK with the most beautiful girl of this world i.e, Prerna.

Since she was sitting alone, he assumed she’d be single and saw it as a opportunity to celebrate his New year with her on his bed. He approached her with a lame tiktok quote,
Khuda ne laakho tarasha hoga,
Khuda ne laakho tarasha hoga,
Jo itni khubsurati se tujhko nawaza hoga

After a strange glance at Ronny from top to bottom, her reply was as expected…
Paheli fursat me nikal!!!”

This was the first time Ronny got such a response from a girl otherwise his tricks had worked in the past. Now Ronny accepted it as a challenge to make Prerna fall in his love. He started to stalk Prerna every evening from college to hostel, from hostel to tution and tution to hostel. He even started spending weekends with Prernas friends and would also gift them expensive stuffs inorder to be friend with Prerna.

Since we’re talking about Prerna, how it’s possible to forget her lifeline Arnav. Even Ronny got to know about Arnav & Prernas relationship.
The total information that Ronny had about them was….
-There relationship exceeds a period of seven years
-Arnav was a well settled CA
-Prernas first & last love was Arnav
-Arnav was too busy with his work & didn’t met her since his last birthday i.e September.

Ronny was a stubborn guy. He just wanted Prerna to accept him as a friend. He was confident enough to convert friendship into relationship as he had already done many time in his past. But she was Prerna, her love for Arnav wasn’t a futile one. The amount of time she spent with Arnav and the moments they both shared were far more than she experienced with anyone else.



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THEME – MONTH OF ROMANCE

It was Beginning of February, month of romance. The winds were cold enough that the love with warm clothes was yet to come to an end. This was the time where college fests are celebrated.
Ronny knew that the only chance to be friend with Prerna was the college fest. Prerna was a good singer and she always wanted to perform infront of huge crowd. Her last performance was in her school days where Arnav supported her and arranged every possible thing to make her performance memorable.

Even in her engineering days she would die to sing in fests but without support her talent was nothing. Prernas one of the hostelite told Ronny about her desire to sing and that’s where Ronny saw his opportunity. Since he was rich (I mean his dad) he spent a lot inorder to make her desire true….

   3rd of February was the day Prerna became Colleges spotlight & all the credit goes to Ronny ofcourse. The whole evening of her performance, she was narrating each & every moment of that day to Arnav. He was very much happy for her but his work didn’t allowed him to express his happiness. Still Prerna was happy as everyone in the college acknowledged her talent and appreciated her.

Among all appreciations, a big flower
bouquet came up with a letter of appreciation at Prernas hostel room. To her surprise it was Ronny. She was a bit impressed as she took the gift as a token of appreciation for her talent. That’s where Ronny got a place in Prernas life and next day itself they became friends, GOOD FRIENDS!!!

Arnav lives his life very practically and in his 7 year of relationship he took care of Prerna in a more responsible manner than her father did. He never scolded her but made her to realise if something went wrong but Prerna always misunderstood him for being possesive still she used to like his such behaviour. Prerna told everything about Ronny to Arnav , she even convinced Arnav that Ronny is looking only for friendship and nothing else but she never mentioned about New Year’s incident with Ronny. She thought Arnav won’t understand and would out of possessiveness, doubt their friendship which she somehow started to like.

Now it was time for Commencement of most awaited Romantic week for Ronny. He was prepared with lot of tricks in order to make Prerna fall for him.

The first day was Rose day. For Ronny it was a big day to propose Prerna despite being aware of her relationship with Arnav. In the college garden Ronny made a big heart full of Rose and left some spaces blank inside so that it looks like Prernas name was imprinted on the heart made of rose and made a way with Rose petals to Gardens gate (It was obviously someone else’s hardwork which he bought with money). He was waiting for Prerna so eagerly that when she arrived, he literally went to hug her which she obviously declined with ‘Hindustani Bhau’ gesture. He wasn’t ashamed this time and asked her to close eyes so that he can surprise her. Being a friend, she agreed to his wish and took a walk with him to the gardens gate.
He whispered in her ears,
“You may free now those beautiful eyes..”

She was astound to witness such a lovely expression of love. Even Arnav never did something so adorable for her. Her eyes were filled with happiness which was easily observed by Ronny and he took the chance to propose her, however it was declined by Prerna in a very friendly manner. She appreciated Ronny for his efforts but asked him never to do so if he values their friendship and made him realise importance of Arnav in her life. She even stated that with such adorable efforts Ronny could make any girl of his like to fall in love with him. Ronny was destroyed from inside still had to make a fake smile for the sake of friendship.

Ronny now realised that its not possible to win Prerna just by impressing her with money which made him to respect her even more and aroused a greater desire to be with her not in bed but in his life. So he decided to be a part of her day-to-day life since Arnav wasn’t physically there, he might get a chance to win her heart and throw away Arnav from her life.
He celebrated every day of valentine’s week except hug day and kiss day which was out of his league (he did got hugs & kisses from his part time girlfriends but in college no one was aware of his part time relations). Prerna acknowledged the fact that he respected her words and never tried to be pesky romantic lover.

Valentine’s day! (I personally don’t think it to be of great importance neither did Arnav, I mean It’s more like Love fot The Day rather than Day of The Love). Arnav never liked the concept of valentine’s but for the sake of Prernas happiness every valentine’s made sure she should be treated special. It was first year of Arnavs job and he was totally dedicated to it, but his dedication was affecting the 7 yrs old relationship with Prerna, he realised a correction is must and planned a surprise visit to Prerna on valentine’s evening. The plan was to ask Prerna to get to a restaurant and they’ll have dinner over video call but instead he’ll be physically present there with a ring for Marriage Proposal.

It is rightly said that Fate pulls you in a totally different direction. Valentine’s afternoon,On his way to Railway station, Arnavs taxi met with an accident. He was unconscious due to loss of blood so admitted to the hospital immediately.

Prerna started calling to proceed the valentine’s plans and to her expectations Arnavs cellphone was not reachable (Probably switched off due to accident). Everytime when Arnav is not reachable or his Cell is off, he used to make an excuse of being in a meeting rather an urgent meeting in cases like Valentine’s one.

She got pissed at Arnav for ruining her evening and did the same thing that she did on New year’s Eve. Ordered Arnavs favourite Pizza and sent many snaps to make him jealous. But as we all know One person’s loss is another’s gain.

Prerna called Ronny to ask about his plans for the evening & it turned out that he was available. Ronny, who thought it would be impossible for him to ask Prerna for a date, got an invitation by her. Ronny was on cloud seven.

Ronny wanted to be most handsome for that evening, he made sure to look the best for the evening. He entered the restaurant which btw was the same place where they met on New year’s Eve. But that evening, tables have turned on Ronnys favour.

A sweet voice in a naughty tone made a quote,
Khuda ne laakho tarasha hoga,
Khuda ne laakho tarasha hoga,
Jo itni khubsurati se tujhko nawaza hoga

It was Prerna this time who made the lousy tiktok quote to comment on Ronny. Ronny was thrilled to listen that but he remembered the promise made to Prerna on Rose day and tried to be friendly. Prerna out of his anger towards Arnav started to make moves on Ronny which was not only observed by him but by the others around them. As his feelings for Prerna started to emerge out and wanted to pursue on, Prerna  apologized for her behaviour jokingly and accepted that all was done to fool around with Ronny. On being asked about Arnav she narrated how Arnav was acting lately and not alloting proper time for their relationship. Ronny noticed her love for Arnav which again held him back to express his feelings.

Next day after gaining consciousness, Arnav made a call to apologize for ruining her evenings plan. Prerna started to ramble on him of having unexpected meetings without knowing the reality, so he continued with the excuse of having an urgent meeting with client as knowledge of Arnavs accident would worry Prerna & would disturb her studies. Later, Prerna told everything that happened that evening, especially how Ronny made up for Arnavs mistake. She even stated the fact that Ronny didn’t got distracted with her moves and respected their friendship more. (Just to make Arnav more comfortable about Ronny)

Ronny was stubborn, he not only controlled his emotions but adhered to his plan and soon it turned out to be a successful one. Prerna started to spend more of her time with Ronny and Arnav thought she was busy with studies so he never inquired. Even he got busy with office stuff.

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THEME – MEMORABLE BIRTHDAY

Countdown of Prernas birthday started from 4th of March. Most amazing thing was with passing of each day  Ronny would increase the number of cakes for Prerna and each cake had countdown numbers starting from 9. ( 4th March – 1 cake & 9 candles, 5th March – 2 cakes & 8 candles, 6th March – 3 cakes & 7 candles and likewise till 9th day i.e. day before her birthday)


Due to accident, Arnav was on 2 weeks leave.  So he has to anyhow complete his pending work by 15th of March (It was a deadline setup by Company to achieve promotion but incompletion would even cost his job). Forgetting all other things he focused on his work, He even FORGOT ABOUT THE BIRTHDAY but he does remembered their 8th anniversary which was 2 days later as last year he forgot about their anniversary & the consequences which he suffered thereafter made him to remember the date till now. So he decided to complete the work by 14th March so that he can complete his last time surprise atleast now.

12th March, 11.45 PM. Ronny called Prernas roommate to bring her outside. He even bribed the hostel gatekeeper to allow Prerna to take outing for that night. A black colour JAGUAR was standing right in front of hostels main gate. Prerna refused to come as she saw Ronny inside the car alone, however Ronny insisted her with his dark black sparkling eyes. Nothing can beat those innocent eyes, even Prerna got caught herself into it and agreed to go on with Ronny. She however made clear to Ronny nothing should happen without her consent. Ronny agreed with an evil smile and rushed the car towards a recording studio. 10 cakes in a line were decorated with Rose petals, candles of different colours and each cake carried a single word which all together stated [Prerna] [will] [always] [be] [themost] [beautiful] [girl] [in] [the] [world].
“Happy Birthday to you..
Happy Birthday to you…
Happy Birthday dear Prerna..
Happy Birthday to you…”
As Ronny started to sing when clock hits 12, it was like rose petals were raining from up in the sky. Along with the Prernas favourite sweet fragrance all around the studio, she found herself highlighted by the spot light where all the 10 cakes were highlighted with different different candles around them. She was stunned to witness everything with her own eye and her mouth was wide open in an awe. It was like living a dream for her.

Happiness was clear in her eyes as it went down flowing through her pink cheeks. Ronny helped her to cut all the cakes & offered the first piece to Prerna. It was the first time when Ronny was this close to Prerna (physically) and even she didn’t opposed.

Ronny once again controlling all his emotions, held Prernas hand & took her inside the recording room.
“Tonight! The Most renowned star of coming future is putting out a glimpse of her talent in this studio, Let’s give a (big) round of applause for Miss Prerna”
Ronny convinced Prerna to record her first song with all sorts of melodrama. She recorded her first song and she was so into it that once who meant world to her became invisible in her world, Arnav was totally out of the scene.

Only person who was shining inside Prernas eyes was Ronny. Since it was getting late, Ronny insisted to drive her to hostel and on the way back they distributed the leftover cakes among the poor children on Ronnys advice. This surely opened a place for Ronny inside Prernas heart. They exchanged goodbyes with a hand shake but Prerna took it to one step ahead buy giving Ronny a goodnight hug (friendly one). Ronnys eyes got filled with lust with that one hug and he wanted to have Prerna for the night wholeheartedly but the love for Prerna inside her stopped him.

That night if Ronny would’ve proposed to Prerna, her answer might have been different from before still he once again stood up to his promise and valued their friendship.
Prerna was carrying a huge smile to her bed, her blushing didn’t stopped even for a second and her eyes forget to sleep whole night. In her happiness she didn’t even bothered to think about Arnav. Even Ronny was so amazed by Prernas hug that he also lost his sleep out of his dirty imagination.

There was one more person who didn’t slept the whole night. Arnav! He gave up all his sleep and relaxation for the sake of Prernas happiness, he anyhow wanted to complete all his work before 15th March so that their anniversary should be celebrated together. Their last meeting was on Arnavs birthday i.e on September and in the past six months this would be their first meeting in person. He even withdrawn all his savings just to make this anniversary memorable for Prerna and to apologize for all the mistakes he committed for last 6 months.

Prerna didn’t attended college next morning, neither Ronny did whereas Arnav was still working without any break & had no idea about Prernas birthday. To avoid wastage of time he turned off his cell phone so that no-one could bother in the middle of works completion. Prerna opened her eyes, found herself still smiling & blushing, her eyes popes out as it was already noon. She understood that she missed Morning classes. So focusing again on the special day, her eyes were searching for Arnavs messages, mails, missed calls, etc. As expected nothing was found. She made a call inorder to remind Arnav about her birthday but it was switched off. She assumed he would be busy again with any meeting and definitely would’ve forgotten about birthday like he forgot about their anniversary last year.

A message was received by Prerna which brought her dimples back again. Finally the message arrived which she was longing since her eyes opened. In that message an Invitation came which demands the whole evening of Prerna starting from 4.00 PM onwards. She wore her favourite dress ( Rose Red colour One piece) and were at her most beautiful look for the evening. As mentioned in the message she stood at the right place, at the right time, waiting for her Inviter to show up.

Grey blazer, white shirt and black trouser. A dapper you could say. He grabbed the attention of the street as he walked towards Prerna. She was struck dumb when the hot handsome guy greeted her with a beautiful rose. For a minute she didn’t even blinked her eyes and kept staring at him constantly until his words distracted her. He made her to sit in the car and brought her to the most expensive Jwellery shop. He asked her to buy anything of her like and as she began to resist, he assured her that it was from his savings and nothing more that she has to worry. A beautiful necklace having a diamond engraved on it grabbed her attention, but after looking at the price she continued her strolling. Finally a bracelet was selected by her which she asked for her gift of the day and they left Jwellery shop after completing the transaction.

As per schedule, their next destination was PVR. Tickets were already booked as everything was pre-planned. It was a romantic movie of Prernas favourite actor so their was no chance of any refusal by her. In the middle of the movie she grabbed his hands as the hero was on verge of death (It wasn’t the only time their hand made contact throughout the movie, still her eye-catcher was the actor of the movie so all contact were made by her in excitement & nothing else.)

All the tasty dishes in the movie made both of them hungrier thereby after movie they straightly went for dinner. It was a well-known restaurant, a bit expensive too. But as it was her birthday, for him it was worth it. She was a little uncomfortable as it was her first time in such a luxurious place. However he made sure to make her comfortable with his humour. The moment waiter left with the order, his eyes witness something which made him ignore Prerna. Prerna dropped a spoon to catch his attention. His face was confused so to hide his embarrassement, he presented a gift to Prerna. On being asked about the gift, he kept insisting to unwrap it. Her eyes couldn’t believe it what she just saw. It was the same diamond necklace that grabbed her attention…

Prerna“How did you… Why did you… I mean how did you know? You already did so much to make this day memorable and now this. I can’t accept it Ronny, I just can’t…”

Ronny – “It’s your birthday gorgeous. You never accepted my heart, atleast accept this heartwarming gift. It’s the last gift of this day I promise..”

She accepted it with a beautiful smile on her face. Ronny couldn’t be more happy to look that cute smile. Ronny then asked Prerna if she would like to drink. She never touched alcohol before as Arnav wanted her not to consume it till marriage, but the thought of Arnav provoked her as she was mad at him. Ronny ordered red wine. He used to add drugs to alcohol as he was addicted to it. Prerna emptied the glass in one stroke as she remembered about Arnav & her anger made her to drink even Ronnys part of wine. Ronny stoped her but she started to make a scene so he decided to let her drink. Her emotions broke out as drugs Conquered her mind. Before she could create more disturbance, Ronny thought it would be wise to take her back to the hostel. He took her to the car, made her sit comfortably and left the place immediately.

On their way Prerna started to scold Arnav in her unconsciousness. She was constantly praising Ronny for all the efforts he put to make her day special. When the car was passing by a sea shore, Prerna requested Ronny to stop for a moment. Her request was made in such an adorable manner that no man with heart on this earth would refuse her request. He stopped the car and took a walk with Prerna to the sea shore. They sat under a tree facing the sea. The moon light was falling on her face that made her look even more beautiful grabbed Ronnys attention. He was constantly staring at her and she kept scolding Arnav. She told Ronny all the things Arnav used to do for her before getting the job but afterwards everything got changed in their relation.

She was crying and laughing while telling all the stories and Ronny kept wondering how beautiful she was! She took a sudden pause and caught Ronnys eyes which kept staring at her. Her lips whispered “Arnav” and went ahead to get mingled with Ronnys lips. Time totally stopped for Ronny, even he sensed both of their heartbeats turned up. He was living his dream. He was enjoying as if it was the last his last wish to do so. Somehow he escaped himself from her lips and made her realise that he wasn’t Arnav, he was Ronny.

Her intoxication got over in a bit of the second as she realised the lips she enjoyed belonged to Ronny. She felt ashamed and left to hostel alone. Even when Ronny pleaded her to drop her she refused and walked bare footed to the hostel. Ronny kept apologizing throughout the way but she didn’t listened to him even for a bit, she was in a state of shock and only thing kept running in her mind was a regret of cheating on Arnav.

She kept crying whole night by burying her head inside the pillow. Ronny understood that night he can never be a substitute for Arnav. He realised Prerna was getting attracted to Ronny only because he spent more time and money than Arnav ever did with her ( which was totally wrong, he never understood Prerna. She always searched for Arnav in Ronny and being with him made Prerna to withstand all the depression caused due to absence of Arnav). That was the second night in a row which took off the sleep of Prerna, Ronny & Arnav.

The next day Ronny decided to leave studies as his whole purpose of taking admission was to gain Prerna which he now considered to be a normal girl in comparison to all the girls he dated in the past. He lost all the feelings towards her as Last night’s dinner made him to wonder about the girl whose curly hairs caught his attention & she was sitting behind their table. Once again a virus called LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT infected Ronny and aroused desire for that girl.

Prerna on the other hand was devastated. She didn’t left her bed whole day. She kept crying and cursing herself for whatever happened last night. All the beauty of last night faded away. She kept ignoring her cellphone which was ringing from morning as she thought Ronny would be calling to apologize for last night. For the 53rd time her cellphone again rang and it annoyed Prerna. She took the cellphone to start shouting but after looking at the screen her tears continued once again. She answered the call and a gentle voice was heard…

Arnav – “Baby! I think this time I forgot your birthday. I’m so sorry for forgetting… Please forgive me one last time. I promise I won’t do it again in future. One last time, please…”

Silence over the call was observed by Arnav, he asked,

Arnav – “Babe! Is everything alright?”

Prerna
“I…. I’m…. “
A petrified voice was struggling to come up with words.
After 12 minutes and 46 seconds, (yes Arnav remembers timing exactly till date as he never heard this sort of disturbance in her tone…)

“I….m rea…..huh
I…hh..really so….
I’m so sorry…….
I ain’t the one you deserve..
You…
you deserve much better….
Better than me atleast….”

“I did something….Terrible…” .She began to  cry again for some more minutes and said in her crying
“I know it’s not something to be forgiven but… Forgive me please…
Please…
I don’t wanna lose you…”
Her tears continued…

Arnav – “Hey! Stop crying cutie pie… I won’t leave you on any cost.
What happened? Are you comfortable to share it with me?”

Prerna ” Forgive me please. It just happened. I’m really ashamed to be the one who committed such a disgusting crime..”

Arnav” I’m listening…”

She narrated the whole story starting from New year’s Eve till the birthday dinner and completed her part of conversation by saying…

Prerna –
” I…..huh….
I cheated on you….
Ronny shared a kiss with me last night… A lip kiss…”

After hearing the last line Arnav cut the call.

The very next moment, he broke into tears.

Prerna had no strength to face Arnav even then she took courage to call him.Arnav ignored her call twice & switched off his cellphone. He was totally into a different world where he was searching for his answers…


He knew Prerna won’t do any such silly things but if she has done something terrible like this, she must have some reason to do it. He recalled all the things he has done for the past six months. To his realisation, he found out it was only him who made her habituated to all the special treatments and after joining the job he moved on along with the work but what about her?

She totally was dependant on Arnav for all sorts of happiness and when he left the only thing she experienced was loneliness. If she found happiness in someone else it was his own mistake to leave her in search of happiness. He even ignored all the special moments which she was expecting to celebrate with him.

Prernas phone started ringing midnight sharp at 12Am, It was Arnav. (Third night in a row where they both sacrificed their sleep once again. This time Ronny was enjoying in his bedroom with her curly haired girl. He surely was a dog)

Arnav – ” Just hear me out! Don’t you dare to utter even a single word. You didn’t cheated on me, note it down very clearly….
(After a  long pause)
Baby all you did was enjoyment. I should be thankful to you for taking care of my love. You made sure that My love always experienced happiness even in my absence. You don’t need to be sorry for what happened with Ronny. Convey my thanks to him for taking care of yours on my behalf. He was surely a lucky guy to have your time and he probably considered it important”

Prerna (interrupted) – “But he used me for overcoming his desires”

ArnavDon’t you think you are the one who used him unknowingly. Maybe that kiss was a right award for his efforts (he jokingly said)…

Prerna – “Aren’t you mad seriously, I mean if the same thing would have happened with me, I would’ve killed you. How could you easily forgive me..”

Arnav – “Because I love you more( he said by laughing)

Prerna – ” Ohhhhhh Mister! Wait a minute… You love me more na? So don’t you dare to leave me alone”

Arnav – “Yep! I won’t do it again… It’s getting late now let’s go back to sleep. I’ve an important meeting tomorrow in your city.
Meet me in the same restaurant tomorrow morning…” ( This time it was Prerna who forgot about anniversary.)

Arnav was well prepared for the day and his plan did work out. They did all the things Prerna did with Ronny. But the climax was different, in the glass of red wine Prerna found a ring.

Arnav – “Will you be mine forever?”

She was stunned for that moment…

Arnav – “Shall I consider it as a No”

Prerna slapped Arnav and caught everyone’s attention once again.

Prerna – “I will regret my whole life if I said no…
….and her YES came up with a kiss landed directly on Arnavs Lips.

……..The End……..

© Danish Sheikh

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