Chapter Sixty Six - Vaidehi

Vaidehi knew that someone must have seen her standing half-naked outside Rohan’s room. There were many people in the chawl for whom other people’s business was theirs. She put on her t-shirt and slowly turned around, hoping that Rohan would open the door and invite her inside again. She wanted that, despite being humiliated in the worst manner possible. She started to walk when the door stayed close. She knew she should have not addressed Mansi as a bitch, but she had lost her temper and those who knew her knew she did not think straight when she was angry. 

With each step she took away from Rohan’s room; her hatred for Mansi increased. She was playing a game earlier, now she decided she would ruin Mansi’s life. The tears that gathered in her eyes blurred her vision and she missed a step; she had to hold on to the railing to stop from rolling down the stairs. She was a mess. This had never happened to her before. She always got what she wanted. Rohan was the first man who was not interested in her and that, hurt her ego. Rohan’s actions hurt her tremendously. She wanted to get back at him in some way.

It was not merely a coincidence; perhaps, it was universe telling her something – she was not in the mood to decipher what it meant when one of the friends of her friend from hometown, who had helped her help Rohan settle in Mumbai, walked into the chawl. She was already high on hormones, she thought it was the best revenge. Rohan had to know that she could have anyone she wanted, anytime she wanted. She wiped her tears and put on her smiling mask – the ‘i-am-cool’ attitude was back again. 

The man walking towards her room did not recognise her immediately. Later, when he did recognise Vaidehi, he did not have time to say anything – Vaidehi held him by the collar and pulled him inside her room with her. She closed the door and kissed him on the lips. The man was too shocked at first to react but then he relaxed, and he kissed her back. When they stopped kissing, the man stood frozen, not sure what to do next. Vaidehi took his hand in hers and led him to the bed. 

This time the man took the initiative and kissed her, pushing his tongue inside her mouth. He was aroused – his hand started to explore her body and she helped him out of his shirt. She pushed him on the bed and climbed on top of him, she took off her t-shirt and bent over the man to kiss him. 
She sat up straight again, she thought she had seen Rohan. She felt the man’s hand reaching for her breast and she slapped it away. She continued looking out of the window, but she did not see Rohan. She was sure she had imagined him looking through the window. She climbed out of the bed and closed the window. 

When she looked towards the bed, she saw that the man was staring stupidly at her. He had not yet recovered from the slap on his wrist. Vaidehi closed her eyes, her mood was ruined but she wanted to go through with this. She began undressing, as the man continued to watch her. Men loved to watch a woman undress, she had read it somewhere. She climbed into bed again and kissed the man. Reluctant at first, the man continued exploring her body and when it was time, he stepped out of his jeans. 

Vaidehi closed her eyes as the man entered her, tears gathered in her eyes and she felt her self-respect crumbling with each thrust. She tried to block the grunts and moans of the man, she kissed him when he kissed her – that was the only participation on her part now. Her body ached, it seemed as if it had been going on for a long time; the man finally moaned loudly as he came into her; she faked her orgasm. And, as she did it, she realised she had just lost her virginity to some stranger. She felt a crushing pain in her chest, she felt suffocated. She could not hold back the tears anymore and she started to sob.
“What’s wrong?” the man asked.
“Nothing” she replied, and he believed. She knew, he did not really care. 
“Why did you come here?” she asked the man, regretting what she had done. Had the man not come to the chawl, she would have perhaps spent time alone in her room crying her lungs out. 
He told her that he was in the neighbourhood and, so he decided to personally deliver a message their common friend had for her. 

The news he shared was interesting. Vaidehi felt as if she had just been handed an ace in the game of fate cards. She had unnecessarily wasted money on Private Investigator to find out details about Mansi’s rich old dude’s legitimate family. It was a small world and it turned out that the old dude had a son, who, as fate would have it, was a friend to her friend from hometown. Vengeance had just gotten easier. Vaidehi felt it taking hold of her aching heart, felt it raising its ugly head, ready to strike. 
She turned to look at the giver of the news, he was fast asleep. Vaidehi climbed out of the bed and got dressed. She opened the door of her room and saw Rohan entering the chawl. At the same moment, she felt a hand on her shoulder and then another one around her waist. The man pulled her inside the room again. Vaidehi knew Rohan had seen this, she was not sure whether it was a good thing or a bad thing. 
The next moment, Rohan fainted and fell on the ground. A few people, including Vaidehi rushed towards him. Vaidehi, with the help of some people, carried him to his room. 

The man followed, Vaidehi shook her head and signalled him to leave. He left immediately, realising that his chances for a second round were ruined. 
Others left immediately, some stared at Vaidehi as they did. She stayed back. She walked to the kitchen and filled a bowl with water. She was searching for cologne when she saw Rohan trying to get up and falling back on bed.
“Don’t try to get up just yet.” She said and walked towards the bed. 
“I am sorry” she said as she reached the bed. She dipped Rohan’s handkerchief in the cologne water and kept the strip on his head. She was glad he let her do it. She was not sure whether he would let her take care of him because of what happened earlier in his room and especially because of what happened in her room.

“I should have not said the things I said about her. I know how much she means to you.” She said. Saying these words out loud crushed her heart.
“I am not sorry, though, for what I did” she added after some time. 

Rohan closed his eyes and Vaidehi took off the warm strip from his forehead and dipped it in cologne water and placed it back on his forehead again. 

She wanted to put it out in the open, so she continued talking, “I know this might not mean anything to you, but…”
Rohan stopped her before she could confess her feelings for him. 
She was shocked when she heard a loud sob, she had never seen Rohan like this. She threw her arms around him and hid her face in his shoulder as Rohan continued crying. She turned her head, her lips touching his neck, it felt good. She wanted to kiss his neck, she wanted to kiss his lips but now was not the time, she understood that.
“I am sorry, I am sorry … I am so... so… so… sorry!” she whispered against his neck. “I did not mean to cause you pain.” She said raising her head slightly.
“Can we let things be the way they are?” she asked looking in his eyes and wiping away his tears with her hand. “You keep loving her and I will keep loving you.” She said with tears in her eyes. 

Vaidehi knew she could not let that happen but saying it to Rohan at this point of time was necessary. For things to turn out the way she wanted, it was important that Rohan thought she was okay with Mansi being in his life. 

Rohan wrapped his arms around her and she rested her head on his chest. Under different circumstances this could have been so romantic. The rhythmic movement of Rohan’s chest told her that he was asleep. She raised her head and looked at him. She got up and picked up his shirt and smelled it. She walked out of the room with the shirt. Loneliness assaulted her as soon as she stepped into the room, she held Rohan’s shirt to her chest and cried her lungs out. 

Vaidehi went back to Rohan’s room with food. She stepped in through the door and saw Rohan pretending to sleep – she had seen him close his eyes as she stepped in. She kept the casseroles in the kitchen and walked towards the bed. She sat on the bed and checked his fever and then, she placed her hand on his chest. The fast beating of his heart against her palm confirmed that he was awake, and he was worried what she would do next.
She stood up and walked to the door and closed it. She knew Rohan would assume that she had left and the moment he opened his eyes she said, “The food is in the kitchen.” And, added after a while – “I know I have ruined our friendship; I wish things could go back to normal, but I know they cannot. Let’s try and make it less weird, okay?” and turned to look at him and then walked out after Rohan nodded his head. 

Vaidehi decided to stay away from Rohan, but she arranged for the food to be sent to his room. She did not want to give up taking care of him. 

A day later, Rohan knocked on her door and thanked her for taking care of him and told her that he was ready to get back to work. She was not sure, though. She thought she had lost the right over him, she had lost the right to tell him that he should take some more rest. Vaidehi realised that she was the one who had given herself the right over him, Rohan had simply not objected to her presence in his life. 
She told Rohan that she was glad he was feeling okay and then gave him an awkward hug after seeking his permission. 

When Vaidehi had seen Rohan and Mansi in the cab that night, had seen him bend over Mansi, she had assumed that they were sharing an intimate moment. But then, she noticed that Mansi was not moving, she was asleep. She had assumed that Rohan had kissed her on the lips before stepping out of the cab; therefore, she was surprised when Rohan confided in her about what had happened that night. Vaidehi had been disappointed to see that Mansi had returned to the chawl, but having this conversation with Rohan made her happy. Knowing that nothing had happened between Rohan and Mansi that night made her happy and she was ecstatic that Mansi thought something had. Rohan said he wanted a woman’s perspective on this; she was simply happy that he had shared this with her. She wanted to smile, wanted to dance but she replied calmly, “If she thinks you did something to her it means she does not trust you enough.” She tried to poison his thoughts. 
“Should I talk to her?” Rohan asked.
They both turned their heads as they saw Mansi climbing down the stairs. Vaidehi did not want Rohan to rush to Mansi and try to clear the misunderstanding.
“Listen to me” she said and distracted Rohan.

She wanted to keep tabs on Mansi and spend time with Rohan at the same time; therefore, she suggested that he follow Mansi. She climbed into the cab as he started the ignition. 
She was not sure what Mansi was up to, but she knew one thing – she had to create a doubt in Rohan’s mind. They saw Mansi going to a restaurant and walking out after some time, they watched as Mansi got into a cab and then they followed her to Marine Drive. Vaidehi did not know what Mansi was doing but she grabbed the opportunity and said, “Maybe she is here to meet someone.”

When she saw Mansi getting up, she had a brilliant idea. She asked Rohan to start the cab and when they were near Mansi, Vaidehi turned to face Rohan and kissed him on the cheek. She knew Mansi had seen her do that. She wanted Mansi to know that Rohan belonged to her. But, when Rohan asked for explanation, she told him to trust her and said that she had done this to make Mansi realize what was slipping out of her hand. She told him that it was important Mansi saw that Rohan was not available for her to treat him the way she wanted. 

“And how is that going to help clear the misunderstanding?” Rohan asked. He had started to get annoyed. 
“You will see” she replied and looked away on purpose. 
They drove back to the chawl. Vaidehi knew Mansi would return soon. They were near Vaidehi’s room when Mansi’s cab stopped at the gate of the chawl. Vaidehi placed her arm around Rohan and pulled him inside her house under the pretext of explaining to him what her plan was. She made sure Mansi saw them walking inside. 

Life gave her yet another opportunity to influence Rohan’s thoughts when Rohan saw a man entering Mansi’s room. But, before she could say anything, Rohan got into the cab and drove away. Vaidehi looked up at the man as he was about to close the door. He smiled at her and momentarily Vaidehi wondered whether they knew each other. When the door closed, Vaidehi smiled and rehearsed the dialogues she would have with Rohan when he returned. 

Unfortunately, when Rohan returned to the chawl he was not in the mood to talk. Vaidehi felt disappointed at the loss of opportunity. 
But, she was convinced Rohan would not easily forgive Mansi after seeing another man enter her room. Therefore, she was surprised when Rohan rushed towards Mansi as he saw her climbing down the stairs. Mansi looked upset, not that Vaidehi cared; but, it upset Rohan. 
Mansi ignored Rohan and walked out of the chawl, but Rohan followed her in his cab. Vaidehi did not get a chance to climb into the cab with him. 
She was tempted to follow them, but she did not. Instead, she walked back to the bench Rohan and she were sitting on, when Mansi came down. She sat down and held her head in her hands. 

When Vaidehi had told Rohan that kissing him on the cheek would help his case with Mansi; she had not known that it would really work in the favour of Rohan and Mansi, therefore, she was shocked to see them getting out of Rohan’s cab, a smile plastered on their faces. 


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