Chapter Thirty Four - Mansi

Mansi waited until she heard the door being closed after Manish Kumar walked out of the apartment and then she eased herself into the comforting bed. She made a mental note of asking Pallavi about Manish when she came back from the office. 
Manish’s question had taken her by surprise, which she had tried her best to hide. 

It was hard to believe that Manish and Pallavi had never crossed path. It was strange that he did not know who stayed in the apartment opposite to his. She was too tired to think; she voluntarily put an end to her thoughts and tried to sleep. Her ankle felt better thanks to the painkiller Manish had given her. She thought about how pretentious she must have sounded when she said that she would call him. The truth was; since the painkiller had started taking effect and she was already tired she could not remember the number Manish had given her orally. It was either a genuine mistake from him or he had done that on purpose. Mansi exhaled sharply. She wondered why she thought the way she did. 

The fact was, she always thought like this. This was how she was programmed to behave; until she had met Rohan. Even though she had followed the same do-not-trust rules initially she had found herself walking past the fence she had created around her for safety. Unfortunately, she thought, it had not ended well justifying the way she was originally programmed.

She did not know much about Manish but the couple of times she had come across him, he had been a perfect gentleman. So had Rohan been, a little voice inside her head said sarcastically. True, she thought. Secondly, Manish’s touch did not make her feel insecure. The little voice in her head did not respond. Mansi closed her eyes. Scenes of past couple of days flashed in front of her like a movie. She could not remember a moment when Rohan and she had touched, even by accident. There was no way for her to know how she would react to his touch; her subconscious mind sorted it out for her. As far as her last encounter with Rohan was concerned, she had no idea about what had happened and her approach to it was biased. Whatever it might be; there was no way she was going to try and find out how her body reacted to his touch, she tried convincing herself and at the same time her mind reminded her of how she felt whenever she saw him or was around him. It could not be ignored that he did have an effect on her.

Mansi sat up straight in bed and pushed the covers aside. With much discomfort she put her injured foot down and tried to see if she could put her body weight on that foot. The excruciating pain proved that she could not. She put her entire body weight on the healthy foot and hopped towards the bathroom hoping to find a medicine cabinet. She knew, there was no way she could sleep without a powerful painkiller, now that Rohan was back in her mind. She hated him for the kind of effect he had on her. She checked the cabinet in the bathroom, there were all sorts of accessories but not a single medicine. Mansi remembered, Pallavi did not believe in Allopathy. Damn, she thought. She remembered the painkiller Manish had given her. Hopefully he had kept the strip in the living room rather than putting it back in his jeans pocket. She hopped out of the bathroom and taking the support of the wall she managed to reach the living room. The painkiller strip was not there on the centre table. She found a strip lying close to the door, though. She reached the door and saw that it was the same painkiller Manish had given her and not far from the strip was a piece of paper. She took the support of the couch and bent down to pick up the medicine and the piece of paper.

She turned around the paper and found a note which read –
“You will need more of this, I am sure. I did not want to disturb you again so slid it from under the door. Also, please note – my mobile number is 9987653451, do save it in your mobile this time.
- Manish
P.S. I have kept a walking stick outside the door (too difficult to slide it under the door you see). You will need it."

Mansi opened the door and saw Manish standing outside trying to figure out where to place the walking stick.
“Hi” he said, surprised to find the door opened.
“Hi.” Mansi laughed and extended her hand and Manish handed over the walking stick to her.
“I did not know where to place it.” He said wiping off the sweat of his palms on his jeans. “And, I was not expecting you to get out of bed so soon.”
“I needed a glass of water.” Mansi lied. “Okay.” Manish replied, stared at her for a moment and added, “Take rest.” He had turned around to go when Mansi said, “I will call you tomorrow” and waved the note in front of him. “I will definitely save your number.”

Manish smiled and then walked away. Mansi closed the door and walked to the kitchen using the walking stick. She found it was better to walk with the help of a walking stick than hopping around the house. She fetched water from the kitchen and returned to the bedroom. She was about to place the glass of water on the side-table when she saw a transparent water jug half filled with water already there.

She thought about Manish’s expression after she told him that she needed water. He had obviously seen the jug and he knew she was lying to him. Mansi wondered why she had lied to him when there was no need to. Maybe she felt ashamed to admit that she needed more than one painkiller. Or was it the reason why she needed the painkiller that made her reluctant to share the truth with Manish?

Mansi gulped down the painkiller with water and her guilt with fatigue. She slid into bed and pulled up the covers and drifted into painless slumber. 

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