As Ziya entered her apartment after a long day at the university the next Friday, the loneliness which had receded to the back of her mind during the workday unfurled its tentacles once again. Seeing Nikhil had put her on high emotional alert. She had expected him to appear by her side every second for the past three days, but he hadn’t obliged.
Eating solitary dinners and feeling sorry for herself would not help her cause, she thought in sudden rebellion. Why couldn’t she go to the restro-bar down the lane and get to know the locals? The area was near her university, maybe she would bump into someone known to her from her first year.
Ziya scanned the restaurant but couldn’t spot an unoccupied table. So intent was she on having a good time as she made her way toward the bar, that she failed to notice a pair of eyes watching her cross the dining hall. Her back toward the diners, she settled on one of the stools. She flicked through the menu but couldn’t zero down on a drink to suit her mood.
“May I buy you a drink?” someone said.
She turned and stared. He looked just like she had pictured him—handsome in a navy-blue dinner jacket and light-blue shirt open at the neck.
He smiled. “Hi, I am Neal. Neal Mehra. May I join you?”
The bleakness of her life disappeared the very next moment. She wanted to launch herself into his arms. He, on the other hand, stood composed like a stranger who had a mild interest in this girl he had just seen. Sudden tears threatened to spill out from the corners of her eyes. She blinked and dropped her gaze to the mobile in her hands.
“Are you alright?” he asked softly.
She nodded and swallowed the salty liquid constricting her throat, then looked up again. “Actually, you reminded me of someone I had met a long time back,” she said.
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About the author
Author of the bestselling romantic thriller ‘The Bodyguard’, Ruchi Singh is an IT professional turned novelist. Her other published novels are ‘Take 2’ and ‘Jugnu (Firefly)’. Winner of TOI Write India Season 1, Ruchi has also published a short story collection, ‘Hearts and Hots', besides being a contributing author to many anthologies.