Chapter Sixty Eight - Rohan and Mansi

Rohan was genuinely happy for the first time since he had come to Mumbai. He had a broad smile plastered on his face as he drove the cab to the chawl.
Mansi was sitting next to him. She was smiling as well. They had not said anything after Rohan had offered to drive Mansi to her hometown.

He could see it in her expression that she was touched by his gesture. She had been through a lot in her life; now, it was time for her to leave all her worries to him. He wanted to take care of her. He wanted her to be happy.

He had been shocked to hear about the abuse and the rape. He could not believe that Mansi had murdered her step-father. It was difficult for him to imagine someone like Mansi committing murder.
However, once he believed that she had murdered her step-father in self-defence, he admired how brave she had been. That bastard got what he deserved.

If Rohan had known her step-father then, perhaps he would have killed the man himself. Rohan wanted to bring stability in Mansi’s life and therefore he had offered to accompany her to her hometown so that she could collect her original documents.

They were so much alike. Both had fled from their hometown to stay away from toxic relationship.
Rohan wanted to get rid of some people and memories. Rohan was not proud of the life he had led and therefore he had come to Mumbai for a fresh start.

When he left, people assumed that it was to avoid commitment in a relationship, but the truth was more than that. It was beyond people’s capacity to understand. The lifestyle that was forced on him was suffocating him.

Rohan was lost in thoughts and did not notice Mansi staring at him.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Nothing” he lied.

Mansi noticed that Rohan had become silent suddenly. He had offered to take her to her hometown and then started the ignition. He seemed happy for a moment but then something changed. His expressions turned serious. It was as if he was lost in darkness. Perhaps he had a past too?
She had asked him what was wrong, and he had told her it was nothing.
Mansi had bared her soul to him, but she did not expect him to do the same; at least, not so soon.
The relationship was new. In fact, she was not even sure whether it was a relationship.

She knew he was a womaniser. Yet, she had finally allowed him in her life. She trusted him. There was something in him that made her to do that.
What remained to be seen was whether he had feelings for the woman at the chawl and whether the kiss they had shared sitting on the rock was only because of what she had shared and how she was feeling. If it was a sympathy kiss, she would be devastated.

She did not realise the cab had stopped moving. Rohan had parked the cab on the side of the road and was looking at her.
Rohan cleared his throat and she turned to face him; that’s when she noticed they were not moving. The cab was parked on the side of a deserted road. Under earlier circumstances she would have doubted his intentions but now, the misunderstanding being cleared, and her heart being proved right and after they had shared an intimate moment together – she felt safe.

The way Rohan was looking at her made her heart skip a beat. Whatever doubt she had about the kiss being a sympathy kiss, was now gone.
She knew Rohan wanted to kiss her. She wanted to kiss him, too. She knew he was waiting for her consent.
She moved closer to him giving her consent in action. He moved in at the same time and their lips locked in a hungry kiss. There was more passion in this kiss than in the first kiss they had shared.
She could not believe how soft his lips were. They continued kissing, neither of them willing to stop.

Rohan had wondered whether Mansi had kissed him at the seashore because of the frame of mind she was in. He watched her as she drifted deep into thoughts, her expression turning dark.
It was as if they both were taking turns to take a memory trip into the past.

Rohan parked the cab on the side of a deserted road hoping that Mansi did not object to it. She did not even notice that the cab was not moving.
He cleared his throat to get her attention. When she saw that they were parked, he became worried momentarily not knowing what her reaction would be. He was relieved when she did not react. In fact, he thought he saw a smile on her face.

He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to make sure that the kiss they had shared was not a vulnerable moment kiss. He knew she was aware of his intentions. He was waiting for her consent, which she gave in action rather than in words. He liked that. She moved in closer towards him and he met her halfway.
Their lips joined in a hungry kiss; his lips locking perfectly with hers. They kissed passionately, neither of them willing to stop.

Rohan loved the way her lips felt against his. He still refrained from using his tongue because he knew it would upset her. When she had talked about her past she had told him what had happened when her mother was bed-ridden due to fever and had been put to sleep with medication. She had been alone with her step-father who had returned home drunk. The man had forced himself on her and pinned her to the ground. He had covered her mouth with his, pushing his tongue forcefully into her mouth, suffocating her. Rohan had felt her body trembling with emotions when she had shared in detail about what had happened, how he had held her down with one hand as he opened his fly with another. He would have penetrated her had she not thrown up into his mouth. That had been her chance to escape.

Rohan knew it took courage to not only face the abuse but to talk about it to someone. He knew she had kept this in her heart for a long time and tonight, all the pent-up emotions had come tumbling down one after another. Simply listening to what she had been through upset him; but he did not stop Mansi. He let her speak; he believed it was important that she talked her heart out.

Rohan pushed the thoughts aside and placed his hand on Mansi’s neck as he continued kissing her. The warmth of her skin against his palm felt good.
Rohan did not want to stop. He wanted to keep kissing her. He wanted to kiss her every waking moment. Those soft lips deserved kissing.
Finally, Mansi stopped kissing, but their lips were still locked as if they had a life of their own and did not want to separate.
Rohan kissed Mansi once again pulling lightly on her bottom lip with his teeth before moving away from her.
He had never kissed anyone like this before. Kissing Mansi felt so natural, it was as if he was born to do just that.

He started the ignition and drove back to the chawl. Both were still smiling when they reached the chawl and climbed out of the cab.
Rohan would have loved to hold Mansi’s hand as they walked but he knew she would have not liked it. She would prefer to keep their closeness hidden from the prying eyes. People talked at the chawl and sometimes, those talks ruined relationships. He did not want to take the risk.

Rohan saw Vaidehi sitting on the same bench they were sitting on when Mansi had stormed out of the chawl and he had followed her. So much had happened with him since then, but it seemed as if Vaidehi’s life had come to a standstill. He remembered the way she had tried to get intimate with him; he remembered that she had confessed her feelings for him. Obviously, it must have hurt her that he had ran behind Mansi leaving Vaidehi stranded. He smiled at her, a weak attempt to gauge her mood before walking to her and apologizing for his behaviour.

Vaidehi smiled weakly at him. He walked towards her while Mansi continued walking straight towards the stairs and climbed them to reach her room. Rohan looked up at her hoping she would turn around to look at him and she did. She smiled at him before closing the door to her room.

Rohan smiled as well. When he looked at Vaidehi she was looking up towards Mansi’s room. She had obviously witnessed the exchange of smiles. He did not know how to initiate the conversation. He tried with a thank you. He told her what had happened when he had followed Mansi. He told her about what she had asked him and how the misunderstanding was cleared. He told her that he thought it was because of her that Mansi had given him a chance. He kept talking without looking at her because he felt guilty. He had made it very clear that he had no feelings for Vaidehi, but he could not stop thinking about Vaidehi’s confession of her feelings for him.

... to be continued

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