Spark & Spice: Chapter 39: Differences & Difficulties

“Manik, we need to talk first!”

He stared at her with a confused look on his face. “Talk about what??”

“About us?” She whispered on a soft note.

“Okay???” He shrugged as he had no idea what was going in her mind.

“Manik… I… I don’t know what you are thinking about me… I’m sorry if I gave you any wrong signals. But I’m not a girl who would sleep with her boss to get some extra benefits or with any other man for casual sex…”

He frowned and interrupted her, trying hard to control his growing anger, “What are you saying, Nandini!! Do you think I am behaving out of limits?? Because I am the boss here?? Do you really think I was taking advantage of you being alone with me in Lucerne??”

“No…no…no… I didn’t mean to say that…you are getting me wrong…”

“Nandini, whatever happened…it did, just because one thing followed the other… I couldn’t control myself after the kiss…”

“I know… but even before we kissed… we should have talked… I mean…”

He couldn’t understand what she was trying to say. The fact that she was in his room and she had stopped him from going any further, made him appear like someone who was trying to impose himself over her. It didn’t make him feel any good.

“Excuse me, Nandini… I never forced you to kiss me…”

“God!!!… I didn’t mean to say that…”

“As far as I am concerned, I thought we were having a good time together. I felt like kissing you and I did… just that after the first kiss, it appeared mutual…”

“Of course, it was mutual… I’ve always liked you, Manik…”

“So have I …!!

“And, that is what I want to know… ‘how much’… how much do you really like me?? What do you think about me ?? I need to know before we go any further…”

He ran his tongue over his lower lip, got down from the bed to go towards the desk in the room and picked up the water bottle kept there to even out his ragged breaths and confused line of thoughts. He offered her, “Water??”

She nodded to refuse. He leaned backwards to rest at the desk, facing her at a distance and sipped from the water bottle.

She had been sitting on the bed till now. After he got up, she straightened the upturned hem of her dress, smoothened the creases and stepped down from the bed. Instead of moving around, she stood by the wall near the bed, with her back tucked to the wall, exactly facing him.

His eyes stayed focused on her during this time, observing her uneasiness, her speechlessness and her confusion. She had been looking so ravishing and delectable tonight that he didn’t want to believe that he had rushed into things or intimidated her. Any man in his place would have lost his control with her. He was human, after all! A human who was irrevocably attracted to her!

She wanted to tell him that she wouldn’t have been with any other man in this place, caught in such a scenario. She was with him in his room and kissing him, because she was in love with him. He was Manik and he was too special for her. Otherwise, she had always maintained her dignity in all circumstances. No matter how much she wished, she couldn’t get herself to say that she loved him, as it had already started moving on a stupid note.

He frowned, almost disappointed with her, “I can guess that… you want to know what I feel about you because you think that I’ve taken you as a vulnerable, easy female who could be lured into bed… You think I am a womanizer??”

Her uneasiness increased. She wished it had started on a positive note but she didn’t know what to do, or how to talk. It was happening for the first time with her. She didn’t know that she was going to hurt him by asking questions which she thought were quite simple. She had no idea that they could give a weird turn to the entire conversation.

He continued, “You don’t trust me at all… Isn’t it?”

“No… I think I should leave… we shouldn’t talk anymore… It’s going in a wrong direction… I’m sorry… it just…got a bit… awkward…” She picked up her jacket from the floor, along with her handbag and started to leave.

He straightened with almost a jerk and took two steps ahead to reach her. Holding her elbow, he turned her to face him, and spoke with a husky, yet angry baritone, “Wait!! You’ve already made me feel like a desperate creep… You can’t leave like that.. not without talking, now…!!”

“Manik, I didn’t mean to do so… I’ve never thought of you like that… It’s a bit overwhelming for me!! I have never before… I mean… I’ve never slept with anyone…”

“Neither have I… it will be my first time too… whenever it happens!”

She was surprised. This was something unexpected, “You haven’t…??”

“Nopes…” He declared with a careless shrug, “The desires came and went like impulses… but I never felt that unmanageable urge to get close to any other female… But, I guess… that is none of your business, anymore. You already feel that I was spending time with you to sleep with you…”

“I never said that!!” She huffed. She was irritated too, when he was so keen on drawing inferences on his own.

“You meant something like that…”

“No… I wasn’t even talking about you!! I was talking about ME!! I didn’t want you to think that I was a person loose on character…who would roam around with anyone she found interesting on a trip, who would kiss a guy randomly, when given space to or who would sleep with someone for a good time… No, I’m not like that… and it happened only because it was ‘you’… It was you, Manik… and you are special!!”

“So, are you!! Nandini, you are someone very special!! I like spending time with you, something that I haven’t felt with anyone before…not with any girl!! I want to kiss you when I see you… I had that intense burning desire to make love to you, not just because of lust or something sinister… but only because I couldn’t stay away from you… I wanted to hold you close, and bring you as deep into me as possible…”

She shrugged, “Well… I feel honoured… and respected!! Especially since you didn’t force me or tried to convince me into doing it…”

“You don’t believe me?”

She spoke in a low, disappointed tone, “What you said, just defines attraction… you are attracted to me!! Attraction is such a basic thing…it doesn’t hold any promise…”

He was speechless at that. “Nandini… I’m not getting you! What do you want??”

She pressed her lips in helplessness and sighed. “I don’t know… I had always thought that whenever I become physically close to a person, then it should be only when I am in a relationship…”

“And… I respect that!”

“But that isn’t the answer to my question…”

“What question?”

“Are we in a relationship?”

“Are we not??”

“What relationship?”

He thought for a moment, biting his lower lip and gave up. He didn’t know!!!
They were not friends… that was certain!!
Were they lovers?? No, they had said nothing like that to each other.
And they were definitely not committed to each other.

She almost knew that he won’t have any answer to that. She nodded patiently and said, “Okay, I think you need some time to get that answer. It’s hard to name any relationship, especially a new one. But answer just one more question…”

He quietly and patiently listened to her, nodding to ask her to go ahead with her question.

“Where are we going in this ‘whatever relationship’ we have?? Is it something serious?? Or we are fooling ourselves… just having a good time with each other?? What did you have in mind when you wanted me in your bed?”

His gaze stayed fixed on her face when she asked this straightforward question. She was justified and he knew that he had messed up, big time!! He was in deep shittt because he had no idea where they were headed to…

“Nandini… I’ll be very honest with you…err…” He stopped speaking for he didn’t want to mess it up again. He tried to come up with something that didn’t appear insensitive to her.

With his pause, she spoke with sarcasm dripping in her voice, “I’ll complete it for you – ‘You don’t know… And you haven’t thought about it’…right??”

“Err… ‘Not exactly’… it’s just that…I didn’t know if we could just put a label on certain feelings…”

Impatiently, she blurted out in one fast sentence, “We can, if we try hard enough!! I really want to know what ‘exactly‘ do you feel about me?”

For a moment, he stared at her as if she was asking if moon shone at night or from where did Sun rise in the morning. “Don’t you know already?”

“No, I don’t ‘exactly’ know anything. It’s all vague… too random… I mean, it’s great to spend time with you… it’s even more awesome to talk to you… It was beautiful when we kissed… but… does that even mean something ??!”

“Come on, Nandini, everything cannot be summed up in words. It’s about the feelings which matter and we ‘feel’ that in form of vibes when we are with certain people.”

Disappointed, she glared at him. “No, Manik… it is important to say it in words. Because in last few days I have experienced so many feelings with you! I want to know what’s going on…where are we going? What are we doing?? Please? Just try…”

“Alright.” He appeared to think and shrugged, “What do you want to hear?”

“So, you will speak ‘what I want to hear’… and not what you really feel??”

“Why are you just jumping to conclusions, lady?? I just wanted to be sure if you are looking to hear something specific!!”

“Yes, I’m looking for something ‘specific’… that is ‘honesty’…”

“Okay!! So…” He spoke as if explaining to a little baby, “I have never seen a girl as amazing as you, ever in my life!! You are fun to be with. You are witty and intelligent. Very hardworking. You are gorgeous. You are cute and you are so damn independent, with such high self-esteem. You have a mind of your own and you are one of a kind… an original masterpiece!!”

She smiled for a moment at that, “Well, thanks for these profuse compliments but this was not I was craving for!! I know most of it already…”

“So??” He was surprised to know that she wasn’t satisfied to hear so many praises, coming from him.

“What do you think? What do you feel about me??”

He leaned his back at the wall, near the bed, where they had been standing and slightly tugged at her arm, to bring her to stand close to him.

“What I feel?? … Mmm… I’ve told you before…in the elevator that day!!” He reminded her of the adjectives he had used to describe himself just before they kissed in the elevator. It was a delight for him to see her blush that evidently, especially when she lowered her eyelids and grumbled something to fight the awkwardness. She murmured, under her breath, “Forget it… you are just not serious!”

“Okay… okay… I’ll tell you… Ever since I met you at the airport that day, I’ve been smitten. I’ve never felt like that before, ever with any other girl, before you. I respect you… I like you… I like your smile… I like to be around you and I was always attracted to you. I think, I’m really crazy about you.”

He spoke so much but it didn’t help. He had said how he liked her, respected her and was crazy about her…  but there was nothing even close to being in love… they were all so momentary kind of expressions…

All that he had said about her being an amazing girl and how he was crazy about her and how he cherished moments spent with her because she was fun to be with and an awesome person, could very well fit in the description of a casual attraction, like a person describing his crush.

She had been hoping for him to be going through the same feelings of deep-seated love and sense of belonging, that she had about him, but he was on a totally different tangent.

There was nothing like wishing to be with her forever… being with her through thick and thin… through ups and downs… through good times and bad… sharing his pain and happiness with her… sharing his fears and weaknesses with her…  wanting to grow old with her… someday marrying her… wishing to have kids with her…

Instead, he had a genuine fondness for her. He was attracted to her and he liked her… possibly more than other girls he had known… but that was about it!

He had been honest and it wasn’t his fault that he didn’t feel the way she did!! But it depressed her.

Now, it was very important for her to know if she could pin any hopes on him, for future…maybe he would fall in in love with her anytime in future… or it was also possible that he took her just like a casual fling. It wasn’t unusual for rich people like him to treat every girl as available and at their beck and call!

Desperately, she needed to know, if they had a future together or she was heading for a heart-break! Her heart was almost thudding against her rib cage, making her palms sweaty and cold, at the same time. But she had to ask. She had to be sure.

Softly, in a low voice, she tried to probe him, “Manik, spending time with someone and liking it is such a normal thing… you may be fond of so many people you come across in your life…”

“You are not one of them!!”

“How?? That’s what I’m asking you…” She was nervous.

He was lost for words. Generally, it was not ‘him’ to talk so much and she was making him talk and talk… not his forte… he knew he was messing it but he didn’t know how to take it ahead. He had never known to give a framework of words to his feelings. He always knew that actions are stronger than words and he had shown her enough how important he considered her in his life.

Instead of speaking in words, he tugged her arm to bring her close to him. He held her hand and intertwined his fingers in the gaps between her fingers and pressed them together.

“It’s so difficult to talk to you! So easy to connect when you are in my arms!” He spoke with a soft sigh on his lips.

She opened her mouth to protest but he placed his free hand on her lips and replaced it with the thumb of his hand, slowly grazing it over her upper lip tracing the perfect bow of her lip.

“Ssshhh!!! Whatever we have between us is too beautiful… too alluring… why do you want to spoil it by all these talks… it’s such a waste…”

“You won’t tell me??”

“What do I say?? You know that I haven’t thought about it so deeply… It’s a new feeling for me and I haven’t felt like this ever before…To be honest, I don’t know what’s going on…”

With one hand intertwined with his, she had one free hand that she placed flat on his chest and slightly pushed him away. He didn’t budge. Instead, he pulled her closer and curled an arm around her. Frustrated, she hissed an angry whisper, “How about finding out what is going on between us??”

“Okay… okay!! I’ll try again…” He whispered over her face, staring deep in her eyes, in such a deep throaty voice that it nearly paralyzed her knees, “Nandini Murthy, I can’t seem to get you out of my head, whether it is day or night… I keep thinking about you and wonder what would make you happy… and I just can’t seem to have enough of you…”

She was irked beyond any measure, “Leave me… you are saying this because you know that I won’t be sleeping with you unless you said that I was special to you!!”

“What nonsense??” He almost recoiled in anger.

“Isn’t that true?? You don’t take failures too well… and you can do anything to win your way… you have said that so many times before…This time, Nandini Murthy is the new challenge that has amused your fancy…”

“Shut up!! Just shut up, Nandini… I wish I could explain how different and how amazing you are…the most important girl in my life…no one before you has ever stepped this close to me… I wish I could tell you how I just want to cherish you and treasure you…”

‘For Now??!! Right??’

He shrugged casually, “Of course…”

“Not forever??”

“I don’t believe in ‘forever’… Nothing lasts forever!”

“See!!! I told you so… You take me as something constantly challenging you and you love that feeling ‘for now’…till you win this game… It’s all about you!!! As for me… I shouldn’t expect anything from you, coz you clearly don’t believe in forever…”

“It’s such a silly talk…I don’t even want to answer that…”

“It’s important for me, Manik!! I believe in forever… I want whatever I have… for eternity… for always!!”

“It’s too childish and immature a thought!! Forever is no place… you need to learn to live in the present and enjoy what is ‘now’…”

“Wow!!! So, when you don’t believe in ‘forever’…obviously, you don’t believe in ‘marriage’…or do you??”

“Whoaaa!! Goshhh!!! Wait a second… Nandini Murthy… we’ve just met…what… 3 weeks ago?? And we were fighting for most of that time… we have been spending time with each other since JUST 3 DAYS… 3 days!!! Are you trying to say that we should discuss ‘future’… ‘forever’… and things like ‘marriage’ based on how we felt with each other in these 3 days… I’m sorry… but I don’t get you!! Tomorrow, you may or may not like me anymore… it’s too soon to go that way…”

“Not too soon to get physically intimate??”

He sighed. “I hate to hurt you… but I thought it was a natural flow of events… we kissed, it was mutual… we could have made love too, only if it was mutual… it wasn’t… so, it’s okay!!”

her voice dropped and she murmured, “You are so casual about it??”

“That is how it is!! We hardly know each other…”

He was right!!  She realised.

Was she being a fool to think about something as serious as ‘falling in love’ based on time spent with him in 3 days!! How did she fall in love in that less time?? Was she being desperate?? 

Maybe!!!

Because she had never felt love before…she had never seen a stable family who loved her… Maybe she was only too eager to fall in love and make a family… with him!!

Even he liked spending time with her…even he thought that she was special… but clearly, he didn’t fall in love with her!! And here, she was just on the verge of making a fool of herself… by trying to tell him that she loved him…

What was the difference between those despos of hundreds of girls who threw themselves over rich, handsome men like him, and professed how much they loved him or wished to get married to him!!
All his life, he must have seen girls like that… and now she had fallen in the same category!!

She couldn’t afford to lose the little respect he had for her and the immense self-respect she had in her eyes!!

She winced at the last part of their talk, and cleared her throat to try and appear normal.

“What… what are you thinking??” He asked her.

“Nothing!!” She took a deep breath and nodded slightly, and spoke in a low voice, “I think… I was over-reacting! You know… you are right… we don’t even know each other, properly!! How can we… “

Her response, the disappointed, sad look on her face and her retraction on the back-foot had him worried. All said and done, it was no secret that he was immensely fond of her. He hated to hurt her or see her stressed out, even if it was a silly issue according to him. He had no idea where this was going but he was sure that he didn’t want to lose her.

“Yeah, but I also said that we are trying to… I mean… shittt, mannnn… I don’t even know what I mean… but I just want you to know that no one else is important to me, at the moment… than you…”

She smiled sarcastically, “Your ‘at-the-moment’… ‘for-now’… ‘trying-to’… scares me, Manik!!”

“Scares you?? Why??”

“You ‘tried-to’ get along well with Alya too… you tried for 2 years and you were even going to marry her… but by the end of 2 years, you declared that you felt nothing for her…”

“It wasn’t in the end… right from the beginning, I ‘never’ felt anything for Alya…”

“Still you promised her a ‘forever’… you were marrying her…”

“Nandini, I don’t even know if it implies something but Alya and I were tied in an arranged proposal. We agreed to marry because our parents fixed the match and we didn’t have any overt problem with each other. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you are happy with each other… I was not!! Neither was she!! And so we broke up!! But I really look forward to spending time with you… you make me feel so happy!!”

Her expressions toughened. “You are saying this because you want me… you want to sleep with me… coz it’s another challenge for you!!!”

His voice rose in tone and pitch, “Are you out of your mind?? Do you even know what you are talking ?? Do I have a dearth of females who would give anything to be in my bed??”

“No, you don’t… But you don’t like easy things, right?! You love games!! And you love to win!!”

“What will you take to just shut up!!!” He held both her arms in the grip of his hands and squeezed her so hard that it hurt her. She winced and frowned, writhing in pain. “Leave me, Manik! It hurts.”

His lips trembled in fury and his face had those lines of agony that were difficult for her to understand. Probing deep into her eyes, he roared in anger, “I have no idea what you are up to, but let me tell you one thing. Yes, I love games and challenges. Yes, I love to win and I hate failures… but I never had to lie or cheat for any of that! If I wanted to fool you to get you in my bed, I would have told you right now, that I love you and I would have proposed marriage to you. It was that easy!!”

………………………

 {I’ve written below the question that I left with my readers when I posted the story on wattpad & it had received a phenomenal response of 300+ opinions… a huge number for me :)))

I miss those days — 

Q : “Is Manik in love with Nandini and hasn’t realised it ?? / Or … He feels attraction, fascination, fondness, possessiveness and desire for her but still hasn’t fallen in love??” 

What do you think?}

10 thoughts on “Spark & Spice: Chapter 39: Differences & Difficulties

  1. Oh the nostalgia! I still remember getting frustrated with their game of words and how they kept going in circles until the last part of the chapter! You have no idea how fun it is to read these chapters in a row, but I also miss those 2-3 days waiting periods where I would be anxious about the next part!

  2. I feel the 1st one. He never felt so deep for other. Only thing he is not able to lable it. If this would have been just attraction then he would not have held to his feelings and trying to talk which is so difficult for him.

  3. I think it’s 2nd one. Manik likes her.. there is definitely attraction from both sides. But All attractions can’t lead to love and marriage. Right now I believe there is more of a infatuation than love. Love delivers when there is lots of trust in relationship and 3 days is very less time to develop that kind of trust.

  4. I think it’s the latter.
    I am a person who doesn’t believe in love at first sight and also a believer that if something comes too quickly to you then it has higher chances to go away.

    Here, Manik is attracted to her for sure which in itself is very unusual and after spending time with her and getting to know her he realised that he likes her. He didn’t shy away from telling her that or showing to her that he cares for her at every possible juncture. Also, there’s this thing known as physical attraction which I find between them. And possessiveness in very common and it’s not necessarily just among people who are in love.
    Love is too deep a feeling where you know a person inside out and accept them as a whole package. Just like Manik said that they’ve only spent 3 days properly with each other and that’s too soon to know any person. Granted that time is no measure because you may never fully know a person. Also, what he has seen about Nandini are only her good parts. No person is perfect so I’m sure even she has her own vices which will come out eventually and then only he can tell what his actual feelings are about her.

    And coming to Nandini, I feel she is rushing with her feelings and she is judging Manik because he isn’t on the same page as her. I am not saying that her self realisation that she’s in love with him is wrong but even after knowing that she could be rejected she’s acting as if he only wants her in his bed. I felt like she is trying to make him feel guilty about not feeling the same way as her. She could’ve told him how much physical intimacy is a big deal for her and that he could be okay sleeping with her without any promise for the future but she isn’t. And then also it doesn’t mean that he has to promise her anything. But accusing him is wrong and then I feel it isn’t love when she isn’t even trusting him. She just wants to hear the “love” word from him and I’m kinda glad he didn’t say it just for the sake of it.

  5. I think Manik really likes Nandini but not that much so that it can be said as falling in love. No things take time. And they both are right in their place. They are grown up in different environment situations so may be he is not fallen for her and will take time.

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