Chapter Thirty Seven - Mansi

Mansi knew that Pallavi was right to be worried about her and she had to admit, it had nothing to do with the recent happenings in her life. Pallavi had always been a caring soul. She was the only person Mansi trusted to share her feelings with.

Thinking back to what had happened when Manish Kumar had woken her up, she could not believe she had done what she had done. Going straight into the arms of the man she hardly knew was a bit too much.

The dream had seemed so real. The coincidence of her dreaming that her stepfather was pinning her down and Manish Kumar shaking her to wake her up was what made it all seem too real. Maybe that was the reason she had rushed into his arms. She tried to remember what had happened then. How had he reacted? She knew one thing – Manish Kumar’s touch did not scare her, did not get on her nerves, on the contrary it kind of soothed her. The thought was comforting and unnerving at the same time. She was in no mood of getting romantically involved with anyone. The weirdness her heart had been recently been through with regards to Rohan was enough to keep her away from letting her heart off the leash any time soon.

She was deep in thoughts when Pallavi entered the room. Since Mansi was lost in her own world she had not heard the conversation between Pallavi and Manish. He had come to fix the lock that much she could interpret but what they talked about, if they talked – Mansi had involuntarily blocked their voices out.

“He says he works for the owner’s son who wants him to clean up the apartment for some guests he is entertaining.” Pallavi said coming straight to the point. That is what Mansi loved about her. Pallavi was not the kind of dillydally girl, speech and action wise.
“Makes sense, the owner’s son is kind of an asshole, so I have heard.” Pallavi added
“Manish is right to find another job, then.” Mansi said, more to herself than to Pallavi.
“Yes. And, who would be a better boss than…” before Pallavi could complete her sentence Mansi said, “Dad” and both the girl laughed. It felt good. The laughter. It loosened up all the stressed muscles in Mansi’s body, soothed her aching soul. As if reading her mind Pallavi said, “You should laugh more often, girl.”
That’s what she intended to do, Mansi promised herself.

“Excuse me” Manish said standing at the door of the bedroom. “The lock has been fixed.” He added as both the girls looked at him at the same time. Had he heard their conversation? Did he know they were talking about him, Mansi thought.
“How much do I owe you?” Pallavi asked in a gentle tone. Since Manish had helped Mansi when she was having a nightmare and since his story made sense, Pallavi thought it would be rude to make him pay for the lock.

“Nothing. Please, don’t embarrass me further.” Manish said taking a step back. He was about to walk away but he turned around and added, “By the way, if I had to do it again, I would. Break the lock, I mean.” Both Pallavi and Mansi looked at him in shock and as he walked away and out of the apartment, they started laughing. Laughter felt good. It made her feel alive. She was going to laugh. Yes. Mansi rested her head on the propped up pillows and closed her eyes as Pallavi checked the lock and walked to the kitchen to make dinner preparations.
Mansi’s mind wandered towards Rohan. The last time she had seen him he had looked terrible. She wondered whether he was still sick or was feeling better. Mansi tried to shut out the thoughts.

She was in the cab. She was sleeping. She was sweating. He was sitting near her, running his fingers through her hair. He was holding her hand and it was placed over her chest. She could feel their hands moving with the movements of her chest. She could smell his perfume mixed with the smell of his sweat. She could smell the aftershave. He was that close to her. Her breathing became shallow, she grew restless.

“Mansi, wake up.” Pallavi screamed. “Girl you seriously need to seek help!” Pallavi said exasperated. “These nightmares are getting way out of hand. You cannot let yourself be terrorised by them for the rest of your life, damn it.” Pallavi was furious. It was true Mansi did not have control over the nightmares but Pallavi felt that there was a possibility that Mansi could try and get rid of the nightmares, maybe Mansi was allowing herself to succumb to the nightmares. There had to be some way to deal with it, some subconscious solution. Pallavi believed Mansi needed professional help.

“I understand that you do not ask for these nightmares; the thing is, your fear is so deep-seated that it keeps you on the toes each waking moment and haunts you when you sleep. There has to be some solution to it. Clearly talking to me is not helping much. I wish I could make them go away.” Pallavi said.

Mansi did not say anything. She could not. She had seen Pallavi angry but this was different. She was agitated for a different reason altogether. Pallavi was furious with herself because she could not help Mansi. She felt sorry for Pallavi and she felt sorry for herself.

Moments ago she had been laughing. She had promised herself that she would be happy, she would laugh and now the helplessness, the dread was back to haunt. Maybe Pallavi was right, she needed professional help.

Chapter Thirty Eight - Mansi 

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